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Emergency preparedness planning requires a wide variety of supplies, equipment and resources, including personal protective equipment (PPE), decontamination equipment, and training. Planning should include collaborating with local emergency planning committees, local/state public health departments, and area hospitals to determine the supplies, equipment, and resources each healthcare facility needs to handle a disaster.

Basic emergency planning for supplies does not mean stockpiling within the facility. The consensus among hospital and industry groups is that the medical supply chain is capable of providing emergency responders with the necessary tools in the event of a disaster, and that relying on existing supply channels for emergency preparedness is a better solution than facility-level stockpiling.

Planning for medical-surgical supplies during a disaster

The Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) in collaboration with the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) and the Healthcare Supply Chain Association (formerly HIGPA) developed a guidance document, Medical surgical supply formulary by disaster scenario. It provides a starting point for planning, identification, and coordinating medical/surgical supplies needed by hospitals for adult and pediatric patients during any type of a disaster.

Strategic National Stockpile of pharmaceutics and medical supplies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) of medicine and medical supplies for public health emergencies (terrorist attack, flu outbreak, earthquake) severe enough for local supplies to run out. The SNS contains life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, including antibiotics, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, life-support medications, IV administration, airway maintenance supplies, and medical/surgical items.   Every state has a plan to receive and distribute SNS medicine and supplies to local communities as quickly as possible and it is designed to supplement and re-supply state and local public health agencies. For more information, visit the CDC Strategic National Stockpile program website.

Critical supplies for pandemic preparedness

A review was conducted of currently available medical and pharmaceutical products commonly used in ICUs in the United States to assess their criticality and vulnerability. Criticality was defined as having a direct and immediate (≤ 48 hours) impact on patient mortality or severe morbidity and vulnerability was defined as the likelihood of disruption due to a severe pandemic scenario. The review included a literature review of critical products and their recognized availability and role in pandemic preparedness, a survey of experts in critical care medicine and disaster planning, and selected interviews with physicians who worked in ICUs that experiences significant surges during the H1N1 pandemic. In addition, to assess the vulnerability of the recommended products for pandemic preparedness, current information on drug shortages was reviewed as well as the Food and drug administration (FDA) databases to identify the number of manufacturers for the products listed in the recommended medical products and pharmaceuticals for pandemic preparedness. From these analyses, the following list of the top ten critical products for pandemic preparedness was developed.

Top Ten Critical Products for Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

Product Criticality Ranking*
Mechanical ventilators 4.88
Endotracheal tubes 4.63
Normal saline 4.63
Insulin 4.50
Broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotics 4.50
Antivirals 4.38
Potassium 4.38
Central line kits 4.38
Oxygen tubing and regulators 4.38
Norepinephrine and similar pressors 4.25

*Ranking scale 1-5, with 5 being the most critical and 1 being the least critical.
†Excerpts from white paper from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) for Premier, Pandemic-Related Medical Product and Pharmaceutical Supply Vulnerability Assessment, 2012.

Premier products and contracted suppliers

Many products generally available and routinely used in healthcare facilities may also be used in emergency preparedness/safety planning. Premier has developed an emergency preparedness products file that identifies products equipment that may be considered when developing an emergency preparedness supply inventory. This file is intended to serve only as an example and may not include all items and contracted suppliers that should be considered. Premier members should consult Premier’s Supply Chain Advisor for detailed information on the products in each contract.