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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Preparing Minnesota to Receive, Stage, and Store Stockpile Products in a Public Health Emergency

In a public health emergency that requires stockpiled medical countermeasures (MCM), readiness at the state and local levels to receive and make effective use of these products is critical. In an effort to ensure operational readiness in Minnesota well before stockpile materials are actually needed, state public health partners tapped stockpile experts for training and exercise support to specifically prepare their receipt, stage, and store (RSS) facility and personnel for activation.

Heeding Minnesota’s request for support, Strategic National Stockpile’s Rick Bishop and Daryl Shannon traveled to Minneapolis to conduct an onsite, two-day RSS training course at a local office building and maintenance facility, which offered approximately 40,000 square feet of empty floor space for conducting the highly interactive hands-on course.

“By design, our RSS training course offers partners in-person training at their location and teaches logistics planners, warehouse supervisors, and managers the four basic warehouse functions of receiving, storing, picking, and shipping for MCM and supply operations in a public health emergency,” said Shannon who, with Bishop, served as a primary course instructor. “As part of the course curriculum, we also engage the state MCM coordinator to present the state’s RSS and distribution plan so that it is top-of-mind for participants at the onset of the course.”

Thirty-two participants attended the training, and the majority of participants were members of the Minnesota Incident Command System ― an interagency group of state and federal partners whose mission is to coordinate, educate, and implement ICS to support all-hazards incidents in Minnesota. Participants represented several different organizations including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and National Park Service, to name a few.
Stockpile exercise in Minnesota

“The most impressive aspect of this training was the strong coalition of individuals and teams who brought their own capabilities to the table,” said Bishop. “While it was evident that many of the participants had worked together before in some capacity, the interactive training allowed those who had not had an opportunity to quickly develop familiarity with all of the key players who would be working together as a unified team in an actual emergency response involving receipt of stockpile assets.”

The standard course curriculum also includes a half-day activity where participants receive, store, pick, and stage simulated material for movement to dispensing and treatment sites in the local community.

“Many of the students had at least some supply chain experience; just not at the level required for RSS operations,” said Bishop. “We did not need to focus on basic tasks, such as pallet wrapping, but rather focused on collective capabilities, which drove much of the classroom discussions. It was especially rewarding to see that participants were able to grasp RSS-related supply chain operation quickly and also work together to identify best practices and improvements to incorporate into their existing RSS facility activation plans.”

Learn more about Preparing State and Local Responders.

  • This page last reviewed: June 06, 2019