In the event of a large scale
public health emergency,
time is critical.
We plan for the
worst case scenario.
When many people are
exposed to a harmful agent,
the local health department
will work with local, state,
and federal officials to
determine the best response.
Hello, I'm Tracey Matisak for
the Medical Reserve Corps,
or MRC.
You are watching this
video because you
are interested in assisting
with a mass medication
or vaccination response
in Pennsylvania.
In order to serve
our population,
we will need strong
volunteer support.
We thank you for your
willingness to volunteer.
As a volunteer, you will
staff a mass medication
center, also called a POD,
or Point Of Dispensing.
PODs are designed to distribute
medication or administer
vaccine quickly to
large numbers of people.
This video will review
several main concepts
about mass medication
and vaccination,
and give you the information you
need to respond appropriately
and safely.
We will provide an overview
of mass medication response
strategies, and operations may
differ by county or by pod site
to best fit the situation.
The main topics you will
learn about in this video
include an introduction
to points of dispensing,
or PODs, what roles
MRC volunteers could
be asked to perform when
working in a POD, an overview
of each station and its
function, responder safety
concerns, line
management, security,
serving vulnerable
populations, and debriefing
and demobilization after
your volunteer service.
A POD is a place where
thousands of people
could receive medication or
vaccine during an emergency.
The goal of a POD is
to serve the public
quickly and accurately.
PODs are staged in facilities
with large rooms or gyms,
such as schools and
recreation facilities.
PODs will be staffed
by government employees
and volunteers.
When you're standing
in a medication POD,
you'll see screening tables,
the dispensing or vaccination
area, and crowd control barriers
to help with line management.
A POD is typically
set up in a large room
to allow for large crowds
and optimal flow of people.
Some jurisdictions may use a
drive-through POD model, where
the public stays
in their vehicles
while receiving
medication or vaccine,
and staff operate
out of large tents.
Depending on the specific
type of emergency, the impact
and duration, MRC volunteers
may have a critical role
in assisting government agencies
in managing the response.
POD staff roles include
management medical staff
for screening,
dispensing, and first aid,
and non-medical
staff, who handle
line management,
logistics, supplies,
and staff registration.
Volunteers with the appropriate
qualifications and training
may fulfill leadership
roles within the POD.
The POD manager is responsible
for the overall POD set up
and operations, including
communication with the health
department or
emergency management.
The assistant manager oversees
the running of the POD,
including moving staff
between functions
to improve the patient
flow through the POD.
The medical, or operations lead,
manages the clinic operations,
including the
screening, dispensing,
and vaccination functions,
and the first aid station.
The non-medical,
or logistics lead,
manages the support
functions, which
may include a registration,
training, or break room,
a supply area, and runners
who bring materials
from the supply area to the
dispensing or vaccination
And the line lead ensures
that the staff keep the public
moving quickly through the POD.
While working in a POD, you
will take direction from
and ask questions of
your direct supervisor
within your assigned section.
For example, line staff,
will report to a line lead.
MRC units may choose to
pre-assign leadership roles,
or you may be
assigned upon arrival
at the POD for your shift.
MRC volunteers
working in a POD will
be notified about their shift or
shifts via the serve PA system,
or using a Google tool.
Upon arrival at
a medication POD,
each patient will complete
a head of household form.
The answers on this
short form will
help the POD staff
to determine which
medication should be
dispensed to each member
of the household.
For a medication POD,
one person can pick up
medication for an
entire household using
this head of household form.
This form will be
tailored to the emergency
and will usually ask
questions about allergies
to certain medications,
pregnancy, and the need
for pediatric dosing.
Some of the public may
print the forms at home
and bring them
already completed.
Patients could also
complete their forms
while standing in line.
And line staff will
be available to assist
with completion of the forms.
Screening is the first
station in a medication POD.
This is where patients will
encounter POD staff who
will review the head
of household forms,
and use an algorithm
to determine
the appropriate medication and
dosage for each person listed
on the form.
The set up of a vaccination
POD will differ slightly,
because there will be no
head of household model.
Every member of the household
will need to report to the POD
for vaccination.
Screening and
vaccination stations
may be combined with an
additional data entry station
if this technology is available.
Adverse events, such as injury
or allergic reaction to vaccine
that occur within the POD
should be reported immediately
to POD leadership.
Responder safety includes
appropriate personal protective
equipment and education
on any potential risks
of the agent or disease.
Mental health concerns will be
discussed later in the video
when we talk about debriefing
and demobilization.
Responding volunteers
will receive
the appropriate medication
or vaccine for themselves
and their families.
You will also be provided with
appropriate personal protective
equipment, which may include
gloves or face masks.
Information about
the disease or agent
will be disseminated
prior to deployment
through the MRC
unit coordinator,
including risks of
transmission, and updates
will be given as necessary.
Strong, assertive
line management
is the linchpin of
this whole operation.
Moving people quickly
and safely through a POD
is essential to ensure everyone
receives medication or vaccine.
Ideally, line staff will include
behavioral health specialists
who can work with the
public while they wait,
and people with
various language skills
to assist with translation.
Line staff will also report
rumors to the line leads,
so they can be addressed within
the POD or through the media.
The safety of our
volunteers is paramount.
Each POD will have
a security presence.
The perimeter will be secured
and interior and exterior
security sweeps
will be performed
before any volunteer deployment
and at regular intervals.
It is important that
volunteers do not
put themselves in harm's way.
If you have a security concern,
please, let security and POD
management know immediately.
Health departments have
plans to offer medications
to at-risk populations through
planning with organizations
that serve vulnerable
populations like the elderly,
those with functional
needs, or the homeless.
For those individuals who do
not receive any services yet
have functional or
access needs, PODs
will offer handicap
and accommodations to help
the blind and hard of hearing.
MRC volunteers will support
the public health response
for the duration of the
incident or for as long
as their services are needed.
Debriefing should
occur after each shift.
This will likely occur
via a survey or conference
call with the MRC coordinator.
Depending on the
incident, demobilization
may include mental and
physical health assessment.
We encourage volunteers to
be aware of their physical
and mental health
needs while responding.
Report any injuries or stressful
situations as soon as possible
to the on-site manager
or unit coordinator.
For demobilization,
MRC volunteers
should ensure the following.
That all assigned
activities are completed,
if additional
assistance is required,
that all issued equipment
and supplies are returned
and accounted for, and put
the volunteer checked out
at the end of his or her
shift before leaving the scene
or site.

We hope that we never need to
operate PODs on a large scale.
But it is imperative that we
prepare for the worst case
You are an important player
in these response plans.
Thank you for taking the time
to help us be better prepared,
and thanks for watching.

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