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Preparing State and Local Responders

Strengthening public health preparedness capabilities and readiness at the state and local levels is a critical component in the broader national public health emergency preparedness and response framework. CDC helps prepare state, local, tribal, and territorial responders to react effectively during an emergency when stockpile items are deployed. This preparation is accomplished by providing extensive training, technical assistance opportunities, and guidance to these partners on how to receive and make effective use of products from the stockpile and on developing and exercising their preparedness plans.

Training and Exercises

Stockpile experts prepare state and local public health departments to respond effectively during an emergency by providing extensive training and technical support, and through partnerships that foster supply chain readiness, community resilience, and integrated planning efforts.  Many courses offer professional continuing education credits; including credits from International Association of Emergency Managers.

Online Courses

Several webinars are offered via CDC TRAIN, a tool which provides access to over 1300 courses developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) programs, grantees, and other funded partners. Simply create an account and register for TRAIN to access the online courses below.

  • Strategic National Stockpile Overview Course: This one hour course provides background information on the stockpile for all levels of planners, responders, and those involved in medical countermeasure operations. Course ID# 1059349.
  • Mass Dispensing Overview: A Stockpile Perspective: This one-hour course introduces state and local planners, responders, and anyone working with medical countermeasure (MCM) dispensing to mass dispensing operational concepts and focuses on large-scale public health emergencies such as a release of anthrax or a novel disease outbreak. Course ID# 1054681.
  • Closed Point of Dispensing Considerations: A Stockpile Perspective: This 60 – 90 minute course is for planners and coordinators creating a closed point of dispensing (POD) program for their jurisdiction. The course provides information on benefits and operational concepts for a jurisdiction to better respond to a large-scale public health emergency. Course ID# 1055915.
  • Receive, Stage and Store (RSS) Warehouse – Floor Marking Video: This short video is CDC quick learn lesson. It is an accessible reference for responders needing to prepare their warehouse to receive Strategic National Stockpile products during a large-scale public health emergency. Course ID#1052978
  • Safe Handling of 12-hour Push-Package Containers in the Stockpile: This 15-minute mobile-enabled video provides a quick-learn reference for those who need to effectively receive stockpile products during a public health event. Course ID# 1058297
    CDC Offers Additional RealOpt©, Web-based Training Sessions

    A virtual instructor-led RealOpt© class on POD sites is now available. The instructor-facilitated virtual training, presented by the Division of State and Local Readiness, guides participants through the components of RealOpt©, a computer modeling program that examines staff resources and dispensing efficiency. With this tool, students will learn to manipulate existing POD and vaccine flow models, then run and interpret the reports RealOpt© generates. Upon completion of the sessions, participants will discover how to build or modify their own models to identify staff needed, where best to allocate them, and how to eliminate bottlenecks and optimize processing times. Sessions are free and run approximately three hours. Register now for one of the upcoming courses. For questions, contact

    TourSolver™ is a powerful, yet easy-to-use, tool enabling planners to quickly generate optimized routes to distribute supplies from RSS facilities, to the POD locations (stops). In addition to allowing the generation of optimized routes based on basic information about the fleet and stops, TourSolver™ provides the ability to simulate multiple scenarios and quickly see the impact on the overall distribution operation using as many or as few constraints as desired. Free account registration required for use.



DSNS Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Webinar Series

This webinar series is designed to familiarize partners and stakeholders with critical concepts related to the pharmaceutical supply chain and the role of the Strategic National Stockpile.

  • Navigating the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Original date: April 15, 2016Course ID#: 1068117This informational webinar includes a discussion on the interconnected nature of the pharmaceutical supply chain and an overview of pharmaceutical supply chain logistics topics, including third-party logistics, just-in-time inventory, and the complexities of forecasting demand and allocation.
  • Partnering with the Pharmaceutical Supply ChainOriginal date: May 10, 2016Course ID# 1068159This information webinar will discuss the critical need for partnerships between public health and the private-sector pharmaceutical supply chain. Participants will learn about common obstacles to restoration of services for pharmaceutical supply chain components following a disaster
  • Principles of Pharmaceutical Regulation Original date: June 23, 2016Course ID#: 1068316This informational webinar will help participants better understand pharmaceutical regulation in the United States, supply chain protection and mitigation programs in place, and regulatory processes related to Strategic National Stockpile products.
  • Understanding Drug ShortagesOriginal date: June 6, 2016Course ID#: 1068323This informational webinar will help participants understand drug shortages, why they occur and current trends. Speakers will also discuss how the Food and Drug Administration and drug manufacturers work to prevent and mitigate drug shortages.

In-Person Training

Through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Center for Domestic Preparedness , CDC offers instructor-led courses to federal, state, local, tribal and territorial emergency responders and public health planners.  Participants travel from as far as the South Pacific Islands for readiness training and hands-on exercises.  Travel, meals and boarding for attendees are paid for by FEMA.

  • Introduction to Strategic National Stockpile Operations Course – a 5-day course designed to train federal, state, local, territorial and tribal officials how to best plan and prepare for a public health emergency and how to use and manage stockpiled medicines and supplies in response to an incident like a terrorist attack, infectious disease outbreak, or a natural disaster.  The course includes lessons on understanding the stockpile formulary, developing a response plan, and selecting receipt, stage and store sites, to name only a few topics. For 2 days, students are led from the classroom to the warehouse for hands-on activities related to receiving stockpile products, space planning, cold chain management and Federal Medical Station strategies.

On-Site Training

State and local officials may request an in-person stockpile training at their location. CDC trainers arrange for course dates and locations with requesting project area officials. The courses can be modified for a specific audience, and CDC offers continuing education credits for these courses.

Receive, Stage and Store (RSS) Course: This 2-day course teaches logistics planners, warehouse supervisors, and managers the four basic warehouse functions of receiving, storing, picking, and shipping for medicines and supply operations in a public health emergency. The course includes a half-day activity where responders accept, store, pick, and stage simulated material for movement to dispensing and treatment sites.

Exercise Support

Stockpile exercise staff are well versed in the use of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program and provide technical expertise and support to state, local, tribal and territorial public health partners by assisting with the design and conduct of exercises that validate all-hazards preparedness plans and training programs. In addition, the team is available to participate in state or local exercises by serving as controllers and players. Learn more about how stockpile experts assist in state exercises: Georgia Practices for Bioterrorist Threats.

This team of experts also conducts exercises, drills and discussions to enhance and validate alternative emergency medical supply chain preparedness within CDC and the stockpile, in collaboration with other federal agencies, and by partnering with private industry and medical supply chain organizations.