Preparing Community PODS for Emergencies

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Emergencies are unexpected and being prepared often saves lives. Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) provides the structure and tools to keep communities and volunteers safe in the event of a public health emergency. Point of Dispensing (POD) sites are essential for distributing medical counter measures, such as vaccines or other medications, to larger amounts of people.  

“It’s not ‘if’ a POD will be needed but ‘when.’ Most PODs are in the process of reestablishing POD teams through community outreach efforts, educating their communities, and establishing relationships with key leaders,” claims Brad Richardson, MBA, MS, FACHA.

“The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) completed thorough assessments of PODs throughout the state, measuring overall readiness of manpower, logistics, and training. The PODs that SDFMC has engaged with are now motivated to get to work!” 

SDFMC partnered with the South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH) and 28 POD leaders to provide support in the areas of planning, training, operations, and community engagement. SDFMC works directly with the SD DOH Regional Preparedness Coordinators to offer guidance, direct support, and recommendations to improve community POD readiness.  

POD sites across the state provide mass action to prevent, mitigate, or treat adverse health effects during a public health emergency. Community engagement and volunteer recruitment are critical for maintaining an effective POD. Being educated about the role of the POD strengthens a community’s readiness to activate a POD, when needed. South Dakota needs emergency preparedness volunteers throughout the state to achieve overall readiness.  

Overall assessments help identify POD challenges, shortfalls, and compare the more successful PODs to those that were struggling. SDFMC is creating individual work plans for each POD to work toward achieving overall readiness and meet PHEP guidelines. Many city officials are eager to see the impact PODs can have on South Dakotan communities.  

Lawrence County Emergency Manager Paul Thomson said, “The work accomplished on the POD Plan in such a short time would not have been possible without the assistance of SDFMC.”  

Any South Dakotan can volunteer to support the POD in their community. Learn more about PODs by visiting the South Dakota Emergency Preparedness website: