July 13, 2012
Concord, NH - A recent review of the preparedness efforts in New Hampshire of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) program netted a score of 100 out of a possible 100. The annual assessment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviews the overall SNS Program, including exercises, drills, and other planning efforts from May 2011 to May 2012. The assessment process has been in place since 2004, and this is the first time the State has received a perfect score.
The SNS program is a federally managed system that, in the event of a major emergency, provides medication, medical equipment, and medical supplies to local areas to support the response to an emergency. The medical emergency could be natural or human-caused. Typical planning scenarios include a terrorist attack, pandemic influenza, and mass anthrax exposure. In the event of such an emergency, citizens would be given specific instructions and in most cases would be directed to go to various Points of Dispensing to receive medication.
“We are of course very pleased with the results of our most recent assessment,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “This score is a reflection of a great deal of work on the part of many employees and collaboration between the Department of Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services and local partners. All those involved in the planning for the SNS should be commended.”
Public health threats are always present, whether caused by natural, accidental, or intentional means. Incidents such as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, Hurricane Katrina, and other disease outbreaks and natural disasters that have occurred recently underscore the importance of communities being prepared to receive and manage the Strategic National Stockpile. Preparing adequately for future emergencies and outbreaks requires predictable and adequate long-term effort to sustain and improve the public health infrastructure, staffing, and training.
Visit www.cdc.gov/phpr/stockpile/stockpile.htm to learn more about the Strategic National Stockpile.