On April 2, NACCHO and 51 volunteers from local health departments (LHDs) around the country hosted a point-of-dispensing (POD) exercise at the 2014 Preparedness Summit. Leading up to the POD Exercise, volunteers participated in bi-weekly conference calls and Just-in-Time Training. Volunteers had the opportunity to think through the various challenges associated with developing and implementing a POD exercise.
One hundred and sixty nine individuals from around the country participated in the POD exercise. Out of the 169 participants, 52 had never participated in a POD exercise before. The average throughput of the exercise was 10 minutes and 22 seconds. While being “dispensed” their boxed lunches, participants went through a POD and experienced a series of three educational stations that showcased innovative resources in action and demonstrate how health departments can adopt new practices into their medical countermeasure planning and implementation efforts. These educational stations focused on social media, whole community inclusion, and partnerships. Each educational station consisted of an educational specialist providing a one minute presentation to participants on the three different topics. LHDs and partner organizations alike had the opportunity to test novel signage and ideas, such as the Denver Public Health HANDI application and the usage of FM Broadcasting. Key resources and information were disseminated to all participants and volunteers via a flash drive.
Overall, the 2014 Preparedness Summit POD Exercise provided experience and resources to assist LHDs in their POD planning and implementation efforts, as well as raised awareness about PODs to non-public health colleagues.