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State Department of Health receives ´Green´ rating for SNS preparedness

Thursday, June 15, 2006 | 07:00pm

Nashville, June 16, 2006

Today, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) announced that it has received “green” status from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its level of preparedness to receive the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) during an act of bioterrorism or a mass casualty event. SNS is a federal program, which aids state governments in establishing pre-positioned caches of medicines and medical supplies that can be shipped in less than 12 hours in the event of a large-scale public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to be depleted.

In December 2005, Trust for America’s Health issued a report stating that “only seven states and two cities have received ‘green’ status for the Strategic National Stockpile”. Now, Tennessee can be counted among them. CDC grades a state’s preparedness using red, amber and green scale, with green being the highest rating. TDH was previously rated amber.

“Preparation is our first line of defense in the event of an act of terrorism or a natural disaster,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “State agencies, like the Department of Health, continue to prepare to support our citizens, and I commend the department and its staff for this notable achievement. I also encourage every Tennessean to bear individual responsibility to ensure families are prepared and homes are adequately stocked in the event of a real emergency.”

Under the state’s SNS plan, TDH is the designated lead agency for public health preparedness response in the state, which in consultation with the Governor’s Office, would initiate a request for deployment of the SNS to Tennessee. During a potential crisis, TDH would be responsible for receiving, managing and dispensing life-saving drugs, vaccines, antidotes, medical supplies and other equipment to communities impacted by a public health emergency. Response plans call for use of numerous clinics across the state to distribute vaccines or antibiotics in the event of a major disaster.

“The ‘green’ rating is the highest rating available under CDC’s evaluation system for handling pharmaceuticals and medical supplies from the SNS,” said Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. “I am extremely proud of this state’s continuing effort to further enhance Tennessee’s ability to respond, should a public health emergency occur.”

The SNS is a national repository of antibiotics, vaccines, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, life-support medications, intravenous (IV) fluids, airway maintenance supplies and medical/surgical items. It is designed to supplement and re-supply state and local public health resources, as well as other health care agencies in the event of a national emergency anywhere within the U.S. or its territories.

“This is an important step in the ongoing process of preparing Tennessee for any major natural or man-made disaster,” said State Epidemiologist Allen Craig, M.D., who provides oversight of the state’s preparedness program.

The state’s plan also calls for coordination between TDH, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Department of Transportation, and local health departments, as well as city and county law enforcement and emergency management agencies.

Press Releases | Health