Besides their role in securing our borders and coordinating the federal response to disasters, terrorism, and public health crises, the DHS also supports the emergency-preparedness attempts of nations, regions, and communities. Oftentimes, this service is provided through grants to the states to enhance emergency-response training and acquire the essential equipment for response. Another way of providing local support is by providing model programs which, although developed and supported, are administered locally. An example of the kind of program is the USA Freedom Corps. Additional information regarding Citizen Corps are available on the program’s Web site.
Another significant part of the federal preparedness plan that’s valuable to those who are involved with medical care preparedness is that the SNS, which was created by Congress in 1999.
The SNS program works with governmental and nongovernmental partners to update the country’s public health capacity to respond to a national crisis. Crucial to the success of the initiative is ensuring that capacity is developed at national, state, and local levels to receive, stage, and dispense SNS assets.
The SNS is designed to supplement and resupply local and state public health agencies in the event of a national emergency anywhere and anytime within the USA or its territories. The SNS is organized for flexible reaction. The first line of support lies within the immediate-response 12-hour push packages, which are caches of pharmaceuticals, antidotes, and medical supplies which are intended to provide rapid delivery of a wide spectrum of resources for an ill-defined hazard in the early hours of an event. If the incident requires additional pharmaceuticals and/or medical equipment, followup vendor-managed inventory (VMI) provides will be sent to arrive within 24 to 36 hours. In cases like this, VMI supplies could act as the first choice for immediate reaction from the SNS. Before, the SNS had restricted Biology capacity, but in the last few decades, more pediatric-specific items are added. Although still not best for healthcare, the SNS has made significant improvements in its pediatric capabilities and does address most key pediatric needs. One of the important barriers to pediatric inclusion in the SNS is the limitation that the SNS could stock just FDA-licensed items and just for their FDA-approved indications.