Emergency Preparedness

Cities Readiness Initiative

CDC’s Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) is a federally funded program designed to enhance preparedness in the nation’s largest population centers where more than 50% of the U.S. population resides. Using CRI funding, state and large metropolitan public health departments develop, test, and maintain plans to quickly receive and distribute life-saving medicine and medical supplies from the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to local communities following a large-scale public health emergency.


Initially, the CRI planning scenario was based on a response to a large-scale anthrax attack; however, through continued analysis and lessons learned, it became apparent that CRI jurisdictions must be prepared to respond to other public health emergencies. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act emphasized an all-hazards approach to public health preparedness planning, thereby expanding the scope of the CRI planning to include natural and man-made public health threats.

Through the Cities Readiness Initiative program, the Fulton County Board of Health has developed mass dispensing plans to respond to a large-scale bioterrorist event within 48 hours. These plans have been created to ensure preventive medications can be dispensed to 100% of the population of Fulton County within the allotted 48 hours.

Point of Dispensing (PODS)

Points of dispensing (PODS) are community locations in which state and local agencies dispense MCMs to the public during a public health emergency.

Learn more about PODS here.

Benefits of operating a Closed POD

  • Staff know their employer is concerned for their welfare and is ensuring their safety
  • Minimal interruption to current business activities
  • Collaboration with local health department and first responders
  • Continued business operations are good for the company, the staff, the community, and the economy

Strategic National Stockpile/Medical Countermeasure

The Strategic National Stockpile/Medical Countermeasure (SNS/MCM) program manages a large quantity of medicines and medical supplies managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The SNS/MCM contains antibiotics, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, life-support medications, IV administration, airway maintenance supplies, and medical/surgical items that can be used to protect the public in an emergency. During a public health emergency, local areas may run out of critical medicines or medical supplies. The SNS/MCM is designed for rapid deployment to quickly augment state and local supplies.

The medicines in the SNS/MCM are free to everyone. You will need to bring a completed Head of Household form if you are picking up medicine for yourself and/or someone else. The SNS/MCM has enough medicine stockpiled to protect everyone in several large cities at once. If it becomes necessary to distribute medications in Fulton County, you will be informed of this through local TV, radio, and newspapers along with the Fulton County Board of Health website and social media.

Click here for more information about the SNS.

Local Community Partners

Continuity of business is essential for the business and the Fulton County community during and after an emergency; a bioterror attack is no exception. The Fulton County Board of Health is currently looking to provide a more targeted and efficient approach to medication dispensing in the event of a bioterror attack or public health emergency by partnering with businesses within Fulton County. Through collaboration with business partners in Fulton County, approximately 62% of the Fulton County’s population can be provided prophylactic medication by targeting businesses with an employee population of 500 or more.

Businesses may wish to consider becoming a Closed Point of Dispensing (POD) as a means of creating a more robust Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Business plan. A Closed POD is a site within your facility where you provide the necessary medications for your staff as well as their families.

Learn More

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