Emergency Preparedness

Emergencies can happen at any time, but the key to successfully navigating such a situation is planning before something occurs. Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) has a dedicated Emergency Preparedness Coordinator who consults with other health personnel in the state to plan pharmacy response efforts and promotes pharmacist involvement in activities to increase knowledge, competence and preparation  when called upon in an emergency situation.


Should an emergency, such as a bioterrorism event, natural disaster or infectious disease outbreak, occur in Michigan, hundreds of pharmacy professionals would be needed to dispense medications from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to protect the public and save lives. Pharmacy professionals would be volunteering at a community-based dispensing site away from the "hot zone" of an event. Pharmacists may also be called upon to assist with mass vaccination campaigns in the event of a pandemic or participate in other roles within their communities based on the type of event that occurs. 

The information below will assist pharmacies and pharmacy professionals in becoming more involved in and prepared for emergency response efforts. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Max Albanese, MPA emergency preparedness coordinator, at Max@MichiganPharmacists.org

Community Pharmacy All Hazards Dispensing Program

Community pharmacies can partner with public health disaster response teams in the state of Michigan in the event of an emergency. The toolkit below provides information about our collaborative efforts.

Please watch the video introduction at the right featuring Greg Pratt, R.Ph., former MPA emergency preparedness coordinator from 2006-2016. Click on the black bars below to access additional links and resources that provide more information about this opportunity for your community pharmacy site(s). Feel free to contact Michigan Pharmacists Association with any questions or concerns at Max@MichiganPharmacists.org

Community Pharmacy All Hazards Dispensing Toolkit

Community Pharmacy All Hazards Dispensing Toolkit

A successful response to a declared emergency event affecting our community is accomplished through pre-event planning and relationship building. Response planners at all levels recognize that pharmacies could play a major role as primary dispensing sites within their communities, and pharmacists can be valuable assets as healthcare personnel. During an emergency, the existing pharmaceutical supply chain utilized by community pharmacies could assist distribution of recommended pharmaceutical countermeasures specific to an event. 

Knowing that nearly all Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy, pharmacies are valuable assets in response efforts. Maximizing pharmacy efforts during an event will help our communities. Pharmacists can dispense emergency medications, administer vaccines, partner with public health officials to disseminate important information and conducting health screenings. Community pharmacists are well positioned, trusted and capable of playing a significant role when requested, and this project offers an opportunity to begin building relationships with our public health partners now. If we are a part of the plan, we will be a part of the solution! 

For questions and inquiries, please contact Max Albanese, MPA emergency preparedness coordinator, at (517) 377-0240 or Max@MichiganPharmacists.org.

  • Community Pharmacy Partner Invitation: Click here to access a letter inviting your pharmacy to become a community pharmacy partner and participate in this important project. 
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Click here to access a resource of frequently asked questions related to this project.
  • Recommendations for Community Pharmacies: Click here to access a resource that includes additional planning recommendations for community pharmacies.
  • Resources for Preparedness: Click here to access a listing of additional references and website links to assist in your preparedness efforts and involvement in this project.
  • 2016 MPA Annual Convention & Exposition Community Pharmacy Table Top Participant Comments: The attached document is a summary of responses offered by participants at a scenario-based presentation held during MPA's 2016 Annual Convention.  Their input and suggestions are provided to assist you in your preparation to be a community pharmacy dispensing site when needed.

Engaged Community Pharmacy Partners

Engaged Community Pharmacy Partners 

This list provides state and local public health departments with contact information for community pharmacies willing to be contacted in an emergency to help with response activities. The list is updated as new pharmacies agree to be partners in the project. If you are interested in becoming an official community pharmacy partner and being added to the list, please complete the electronic form online or printable form. You will be asked to grant MPA permission to include your business name, location, contact name and contact phone number in the listing.

The Role of Pharmacists in Emergency Preparedness

Pharmacy professionals play an important role in responding to emergency events, such as natural disasters or infectious disease outbreaks. They are called upon to urgently dispense medications from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to protect the public and save lives. They may also serve other functions in their communities depending on the type of emergency.

    • Pharmacists are highly visible members of the healthcare community, and involvement in emergency preparedness begins in local communities. Unlike many other emergencies, pandemics are not localized to a single region of the country. Given the mobility of individuals, carriers of the infectious diseases can transmit illness through various means. Because of this, careful local community planning is essential prior to an event to enable a successful response during an event.

    • Pharmacies are ideally located to play an important part in any local response, and pharmacy professionals are adequately equipped to assist the public during response efforts.

    • Michigan pharmacists have been actively engaged in community and statewide emergency preparedness efforts, including the first deployment of Michigan’s mobile field hospital in 2011.

    • Pharmacists also protect their patients and staff by encouraging them to have a personal and family emergency plan in place. The plan should include an organized record of medication information, supplies and communication mechanisms.

    • As pharmacists' role in providing vaccines continues to expand, they can help prepare for pandemic situations. During the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, pharmacists were instrumental in providing patients with pertinent information to make informed choices about their immunizations.

Emergency Preparedness Education and Training

Incident Command Systems (ICS) Courses from FEMA

Knowledge of the precepts of incident command is essential to any person involved in disaster response. This organized approach to response allows all responders to work under pre-established guidelines of command and communication that help ensure an organized and successful response effort. These programs are free, and can be completed through the following Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent study website addresses:

ICS 700 is an introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The other two programs listed are specifically designed for health care institutions. After successful completion of each program, a certificate can be printed and saved to show successful completion of these programs.

Emergency Preparedness Courses on MI-TRAIN

MI-TRAIN has many emergency preparedness courses pertaining to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), mass antibiotic dispensing, CHEMPACK and others. MI-TRAIN also tracks your training and maintains a permanent record of courses completed. 

These courses below discuss various pharmaceutical caches and deployment plans. Decisions to request and utilize these caches requires the input and expertise of many partners, including pharmacists, to ensure a fast and efficient pharmaceutical countermeasure response to an emergency situation.  

  • Michigan CHEMPACK Program Training Module (course ID #1034991 ) - Offers free CE credit through Michigan Board of Pharmacy
  • Michigan’s MEDDRUN, CHEMPACK & SNP Programs (course ID #1031785 ) - Offers free CE credit through Michigan Board of Pharmacy

Many other courses are available through MI-TRAIN that you may find relevant and interesting. Simply search the database, enroll yourself (if allowed for that particular program) and learn new things. 

MI-TRAIN Log-in Instructions

  • Go to https://mi.train.org.
  • Click on “Create Account.” You must read and agree with all TRAIN policies.
  • Once the account has been created, browse through courses.
  • Once you find the course you would like to view, click on “registration.”
  • Select "none" under credit type, if there is no pharmacy CE offered for the program (this information should be listed under the course description--if in doubt, select "none").
  • Click on "Launch" to continue
  • The course will appear. Follow the course instructions to navigate


Emergency Preparedness Resources for Pharmacists

Role of the Community Pharmacist in Emergency Preparedness
Explore the role of the community pharmacist in emergency preparedness efforts. This document describes the essential role of pharmacists as emergency responders in their community.

Local Health Department Emergency Preparedness Coordinators
Emergency preparedness coordinators for local health departments are good points of contact for pharmacists with questions regarding emergency preparedness activities in their communities. These people are charged with building plans to receive Strategic National Stockpile assets and mass dispense them to their communities. Establishing a relationship prior to an event will make an emergency response more efficient, and other opportunities for partnership may emerge.

Emergency Preparedness Resources for Pharmacists Guide
This guide provides resources for pharmacy professionals who are interested in exploring opportunities in emergency preparedness. It includes a compilation of websites, articles, online training and general recommendations to assist the committed pharmacist in navigating the variety of resources that are available.

State Medication Caches
  • CHEMPACK
    The CHEMPACK Project provides the state of Michigan, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with a sustainable, supplemental source of federally-owned, pre-positioned nerve agent/organophosphate antidotes and associated pharmaceuticals that are readily available for use when local supplies become depleted. It is important for pharmacists to know which medications are in caches and how they are requested.

  • CHEMPACK can be used to treat nerve agents (NA) and organophosphate exposures during a large-scale incident. Two types of CHEMPACK caches are available throughout the state.
    • EMS caches are primarily designed for use by emergency responders at the scene of the incident for up to 454 nerve agent casualties and, therefore, a larger percentage of the antidotes are packaged in single-use auto-injectors. Additionally, a number of these doses have been modified for pediatric patients.
    • Hospital caches are designed primarily for hospital use for 454 to 1000 nerve agent casualties and contain more multi-use vials than the EMS caches. This allows medical professionals to better manage drug dosing during follow-up and long-term care

  • Hospital pharmacists may be involved with hospital caches in an emergency. They should:
    • Plan and exercise the deployment of these caches within their Hospital Incident Command (HIC) protocol periodically to ensure readiness.
    • Maintain proficient knowledge of medical countermeasure assets and their indications in these caches.
    • Maintain awareness of the location of activation numbers and internal protocols that would be used to activate a response.
  • Michigan Emergency Drug Delivery Resource Utilization Network (MEDDRUN)
    MEDDRUN provides mobile standardized caches of medications and supplies to treat approximately 50 patients. MEDDRUN caches owned by the state of Michigan are called MedPacks and are strategically located throughout the state. Pharmacists should be familiar with the medical countermeasures contained within these packs. Decisions regarding deployment of these assets may involve pharmacists. Being involved with a MEDDRUN deployment decision also allows the pharmacy to organize its response for handling asset allocations when they arrive.

  • MEDDRUN caches can be rapidly deployed, usually within one hour to most parts of the state. The purpose of MEDDRUN is to bridge the gap between local, regional, state and Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) resources. MEDDRUN assets can be used to treat exposure to:
    • Cyanide or nerve agents
    • Organophosphate pesticides
    • Toxic industrial chemicals
    • Radiation from radiological dispersion devices
    • Biological agents, such as anthrax, plague and tularemia

Register as a Volunteer

The Michigan Volunteer Registry was launched in January 2006 by the Michigan Department of Community Health Office of Public Health Preparedness, now the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness Division. A growing list of willing volunteers from the state of Michigan and out-of-state border counties is currently being maintained.

The purpose of this system is to provide a secure, electronic environment for volunteers to indicate their volunteer interests and contact information. In the event of a public health disaster, the registry functions as the central repository for volunteer information. The information can be queried and appropriate volunteers contacted by e-mail or text pager (if appropriate). 

Using that information, volunteers will be contacted by authorized personnel. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral health providers, emergency medical services personnel, ancillary support staff and other individuals interested in helping are encouraged to register. Registration is essential prior to an event so that volunteers can be credentialed. Volunteers will have their license and employer (for hospital pharmacists) verified to determine the credential level. Only credentialed volunteers will be able to serve in an actual emergency. Volunteers will also have access to current information regarding events, exercises, drills,  general knowledge and training.

Please visit the MI Volunteer Registry website for additional information.

Additional Emergency Preparedness Resources

    • A Look at Emergency Preparedness
      MPA's February 2013 edition of the publication Pharmacy Insights focused on emergency preparedness. Read through this interactive PDF for additional information on developing a mass dispensing plan, the role of pharmacists in emergency preparedness and the level of preparedness in Michigan hospitals.

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Emergency Preparedness & Response
      The CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response website is a primary source of information for preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. This site keeps the public informed about public health emergencies and provides information needed to protect and save lives.

    • Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template
      A COOP helps prepare and protect employees in the case of an event that disrupts pharmacy or hospital operations. It provides a roadmap to maintain safety while continuing to serve patients and the community. Use this template as a starting point to create a COOP for your organization.

    • Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP)
      EPAP provides a way for over 70,000 enrolled retail pharmacies nationwide to process claims for certain kinds of prescription drugs, specific medical supplies, vaccines and some forms of durable medical equipment (DME) for eligible individuals in a Federally-identified disaster area. Ensuring access to medications, medical supplies, vaccines and DME helps patients cope with disaster and prevents stress on the healthcare system and allows individuals and communities to better cope with disasters. To learn more about EPAP and how patients and pharmacies can be involved, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website here.

    • Michigan Prepares
      Your safety and the safety of your family may depend on decisions made in a few seconds. Having an emergency plan and talking about it ahead of time can make all the difference and may even save lives. This website contains information to help you develop an emergency plan that is right for your family. When an emergency hits and seconds count, make sure you and your family are prepared!

    • Zika Virus
      The CDC offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date information pertaining to Zika virus. This continues to be a growing concern as more information becomes available about the consequences of Zika virus.

    • Radiation Emergency and Potassium Iodide in Michigan

        • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
          For those living or working within 10 miles of one of Michigan’s nuclear power plants, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers a one-day supply of potassium iodide in specific pharmacies. If a nuclear power plant incident occurs, and a declaration of a radiation emergency is issued by local officials, people potentially affected should take the potassium iodide pills.

        • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
          The CDC also offers resources on potassium iodide, including a wide variety of frequently asked questions.