Emergency Preparedness

Should an emergency, such as a bioterrorism event, natural disaster or infectious disease outbreak, occur in Michigan, hundreds of pharmacy professionals would be urgently 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.

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 that allow them to become more knowledgeable, competent and better prepared to play a contributory role when called upon in an emergency situation.

Click on the black bars below to access additional information. If you have any questions, please contact MPA Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Greg Pratt at (517) 420-0789.

Ebola Virus Resources for Health Care Providers

The 2014 Ebola virus epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries, including the United States (U.S.) Although the risk of rapid spread of Ebola in the U.S. is very low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partners are taking precautions to isolate any cases and Ebola and prevent the spread of the disease.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recently developed a Web site with information for Michigan health care providers and patients to keep them updated on the epidemic and provide health care, laboratory, preparedness and community resources. Visit the Web site online at www.Michigan.gov/ebola. The following are key documents from the site that health care providers are encouraged to review to ensure their facility is prepared to evaluate patients suspected of having the virus.

General Resources

Checklists for Preparedness

Resources for Evaluating Patients

In addition, to familiarize yourself with key information, be sure to visit the CDC Web site. The agency recently posted a wealth of resources for health care workers and patients, including guidance and recommendations, a checklist for patient evaluations, diagnosis information and more. The CDC also offers a "What's New" page that includes the most up-to-date information on the outbreak.

The Role of Pharmacists in Emergency Preparedness

Pharmacy professionals play an important role in responding to emergency events, such as a natural disaster or infectious disease outbreak. They are called upon to urgently dispense medications from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to protect the public and save lives.

    • Pharmacists are highly-visible members of the health care community, and involvement in emergency preparedness begins at a local, community level. Unlike many other emergencies, pandemics are not localized to a single region of the country given the mobility of individuals, carriers of the virus and transmission through various means. Because of this, careful and considerate local and community planning is essential to a successful response.

    • Pharmacies are an important part of 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, to prepare for the potential need for their assistance in disaster response.

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

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

Emergency Preparedness Resources for Pharmacists

    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. As stated above, it is important for pharmacists to maintain awareness of what the cached agents are, where they are, how are they requested and their intended uses.

    CHEMPACK can be used to treat nerve agents (NA) and organophosphate exposures during a large-scale incident.  The CHEMPACK Project makes two types of CHEMPACK container’s or caches, available throughout the state:
        • EMS caches are primarily designed for use by emergency responders at the scene of the incident for up to 454 NA 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 454-1000 NA casualties and contain more multi-use vials than the EMS caches.  This allows medical professionals to better manage/regulate drug dosing during follow-up and long-term care.
    • Activation:
        • Plan and exercise the deployment of these caches within your Hospital Incident Command (HIC) protocol.
        • Maintain awareness of medical countermeasure assets and their indications in these caches
        • Maintain awareness of the location of activation numbers, and any internal protocol that would be unilaterally activated through your HIC
  • 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 Web sites, articles, online training and general recommendations to assist the committed pharmacist in independently navigating the variety of resources that are available. This helps pharmacists become more knowledgeable, competent and better prepared to play a contributory role when called upon in an emergency situation.

  • Local Health Department Emergency Preparedness Coordinators
    A good point of contact for any pharmacist who has questions regarding emergency preparedness activities in their community or who would like to get involved is their Local Health Department Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. This person is charged with building the plan to receive Strategic National Stockpile assets, and to then mass dispense them to their/your community.  They may be very happy to have a pharmacist contact in their community who agrees to serve as a resource to them on this or other projects. Getting to know one another pre-event is always good practice!

  • 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 they're strategically located throughout the state.  It's important for pharmacists to become familiar with the medical countermeasures contained within these packs. Decisions to deploy, or not deploy these assets may involve the pharmacy department and your input as to whether or not they are appropriate for the specific event may be requested.  Being involved with a MEDDRUN deployment decision also allows you to begin to organize your pharmacy response, and the asset allocations you may soon encounter. These caches are housed with Michigan’s rotary air, and selected ground and emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, to be rapidly deployed during an incident to hospitals and other sites, ideally within one hour of request.

    The purpose of MEDDRUN is to bridge the gap in time between local, regional and state resources, and more extensive Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and other medical re-supply systems.  MEDDRUN can be used to treat:
        • Exposure to cyanide, nerve agents
        • Organophosphate pesticides
        • Toxic industrial chemicals
        • Radiological dispersion devices
        • Biological events, such as anthrax, plague or tularemia
  • 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 as well as changes that a pharmacist practicing when a health emergency occurs could expect.

Emergency Preparedness Education and Training

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. The training module will also track your training, and maintain a permanent record of courses completed. Below are available courses. The CHEMPACK and MEDDRUN programs offer continuing education credit free of charge.
    • Introduction to the Modular Emergency Medical System (course ID #1034319)
    • Michigan’s CHEMPACK Program (course ID #1034911)
    • Michigan’s MEDDRUN, Chempack and Strategic National Stockpile Program (course ID #1031785)

All of these courses describe and discuss various pharmaceutical caches and deployment plans that pharmacists should be aware of. Decisions to request and utilize these caches will require the input and expertise of pharmacists to ensure a fast and efficient pharmaceutical countermeasure response to a crisis event.  

MI-TRAIN Log-in Instructions

    • Go to https://mi.train.org.
    • Go to “Set up a new TRAIN account” and click “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, there is no pharmacy CE offered for this program
    • Click on "Launch" link to continue
    • The course will appear. Follow instructions in the course to navigate

Emergency Preparedness Courses from the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Michigan Board of Pharmacy has approved the FEMA Incident Command 100, 200 and 700 level courses for pharmacy continuing education (CE) credit. The Board has recognized that pharmacists are first responders in a crisis event, and that they tend to be placed in decision-making positions during these events.

Receive free CE credit for the following programs, each approved for three hours:

Following successful completion of these courses and a 75 percent or greater score on the posttest, a certificate will be generated online from FEMA. Mail a copy of this certificate and a completed copy of this form to MPA, Attn: Greg Pratt, 408 Kalamazoo Plaza, Lansing, MI 48933. After review, a completed copy of the form will be returned to you in approximately four to six weeks. Pharmacists must retain a copy of the completed form that is returned to them as proof of completion because credits will not be reported to CPE Monitor. Take advantage of this offer for up to nine hours of free CE by Oct. 7, 2015.

Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians will not be left out when a pharmacy or health-system is faced with responding to and managing a major crisis event. They are the day-to-day support for pharmacists, and would certainly play a pivotal role in the response to a crisis event. In recognition of this, MPA is providing three continuing education credits for completion of the following FEMA online program:

Following successful completion of this course and a 75 percent or greater score on the posttest, a certificate will be generated online from FEMA. Mail a copy of this certificate and a completed copy of this form to MPA, Attn: Greg Pratt, 408 Kalamazoo Plaza, Lansing, MI 48933. After review, a completed copy of the form will be returned to you in approximately four to six weeks. Pharmacy technicians must retain a copy of the completed form that is returned to them as proof of completion because credits will not be reported to CPE Monitor. Take advantage of this offer for three hours of free CE by Oct. 7, 2015.

MIPharmAAD Summit

In anticipation of the next Strategic National Stockpile distribution of life saving antivirals, the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Michigan Pharmacists Association and the Office of Public Health Preparedness collaboratively hosted the 2013 MI PharmAAD Summit. Michigan pharmacists from independent, community and outpatient hospital pharmacies from across the state were invited to share their expertise and knowledge, based upon their experience during the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic, to help develop an improved antiviral distribution plan. National and regional speakers presented on various related topics that provided a historical account of influenza related emergency preparedness activities, related legal and liability issues, pharmaceutical supply chain logistics and challenges and successes from a local health department perspective.

Though greatly effective in the successful distribution of thousands of courses of therapy during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the purpose of MI PharmAAD Summit was to identify methods to improve the Strategic National Stockpile distribution process to insure an effective, efficient and safe method of distributing medical supplies that will positively affect patients’ lives in the event of an emergency.

Click here to view a complete summary report on Summit activities.

Register as a Volunteer

The MI Volunteer Registry was launched January 2006 by the Michigan Department of Community Health Office of Public Health Preparedness. 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 an accidental, natural or intentional public health emergency, or other public or healthcare disaster, the registry functions as the central location for volunteer information. The information can be queried and appropriate volunteers contacted by e-mail or text pager (if appropriate). 

Individuals interested in volunteering can indicate their interests and contact information in a secure, electronic environment. Using that information, volunteers will be contacted by authorized personnel. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral health, emergency medical services personnel, ancillary support staff and other individuals interested in helping are encouraged to register. Volunteers will also have access to current information regarding events, exercises and drills, or general knowledge and training.

Please visit the MI Volunteer Registry Web site 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 awareness in Michigan hospitals.

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

    • Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template
      A COOP will help prepare and protect your employees in the case of such an event, and provides a roadmap to maintain their safety while continuing to serve your patients and community according to your core business values. Use this template as a starting point to create a COOP for your business.

    • 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 Web site 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!

    • Potassium Iodide in Michigan

        • Michigan Department of Community Health
          For those living or working within 10 miles of Michigan’s nuclear power plants, the Michigan Department of Community Health offers a one-day supply of potassium iodide in specific pharmacies. If a nuclear power plant incident occurs, taking the pills is recommended upon declaration of a radiation emergency by local response officials.

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