Strategic National Stockpile

The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Program is, just as the name implies, a stockpile of medicine, supplies and equipment which could come into play in disasters or emergencies, when these supplies are needed in a hurry.

The SNS is a large national holding of antibiotics, chemical antidotes, vaccines, antitoxins, life-support medications, IV administration, airway maintenance supplies, and medical/surgical items.

If terrorism or a large scale natural disaster, such as a flood or tornado, involves emergency health services in large numbers, the SNS activates to provide rapid access to large amounts of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

Designed for rapid and flexible response, an SNS operation begins with "push packages" that are delivered within 12 hours following the disaster. These packages include drugs and supplies for broad spectrum treatment for use in an ill-defined threat, within the early hours of the emergency.

The packages are stored throughout the country in strategic and secure locations, ready for delivery within 12 hours of a decision to deploy SNS assets.

A system is in place for an additional delivery of more medical inventory, shipped to arrive within 24 to 36 hours. This can be tailored to include items specific to treatment in an emergency involving a suspected or confirmed agent or combination of agents.

During a national emergency, state, local and private stocks of medical materials may be quickly depleted. State and first responders and health officials can use the SNS to supplement their response to the disaster.

The program responded to 9-11 in New York, delivering materials by ground and air. It also supported states and cities affected by anthrax attacks in October and November, 2001.