- Closed POD Recruiting
- Closed POD Workbook Creation
- Closed POD Exercise
- Closed POD Training
5 months + 600% success rate
IMPROVING A CLOSED POD NETWORK. In 2010, St. Louis County had enlisted its largest university and its largest employer to serve as Closed PODs, along with most of its hospitals and ﬁrst responders. That original eﬀort took 18 months, and while it was successful, the results still represented just 27 percent of its one million population, leaving nearly three out of four residents who would expect to rely on one of the county’s planned 20 Open PODs.
The year before, when it had activated several Open PODs to distribute H1N1 vaccine, it was clear there were not suﬃcient paid county employees to staﬀ all of the Open PODs it would need in the event of a bio-terrorism attack to the region.
The county obtained a PHER grant to improve its Closed POD network, issued an RFP and awarded the competitive grant to a ﬁve-year-old non-proﬁt organization, PandemicPrep.Org, which established the Bio-Defense Network as an aﬃliate. (Bio-Defense Network has since spun oﬀ and become a for-proﬁt public health consultancy supporting local health departments around the nation.) An initial goal of 35 percent coverage was accepted for full payment, with a “stretch goal” of 50 percent established.
CLOSED POD RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING. By approaching business continuity and human resource professionals in the county’s top employers, other universities and public school nurses, the Bio-Defense Network team quickly surpassed its goal of enrollees, and also surpassed its stretch goal, eventually raising St. Louis County’s total number of enrollees to about 72 percent of the county’s residents.
Working with the State of Missouri, the team created an approved Closed POD training curriculum for managers and dispensers, and trained several hundred employees to be certiﬁed to distribute medications in the event of a public health emergency. Drawing heavily from the National Association of County and City Health Oﬃcials resources, the Bio-Defense Network created a multi-chapter work book that was provided to the leaders of all Closed PODs, and made a special presentation to medical directors of companies contemplating become Closed PODs.
It also established a relationship with the Visiting Nurse Association, which agreed to provide medical oversight to any Closed POD that didn’t have in-house medical professionals. Those agreements were made between the Closed PODs and VNA, and will go into eﬀect only if and when Closed PODs are activated. VNA also signed up to be a Closed POD for its employees. NATION’S BEST-PREPARED COMMUNITY The county continues to expand its Closed POD network by adding new employers, conducts annual evaluations of its Closed POD partners, and provides training and exercises for managers.
Because the county — with Bio-Defense Network’s support – is able to focus on just a quarter of its population in its Open PODs, it is one of the nation’s best-prepared communities to deal with a bio-terrorism event.
For more information, see the documents below: