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Who can request SNS assets

In the face of a public health threat, state, tribal, local or territorial health officials may request federal assistance for emergency medical countermeasures from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). Requests can come from a governor or a governor’s designee or senior health officials in a state, tribal entity, directly funded city, or territory. Cities funded through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement include Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. In addition, tribal nations and Urban Indian Organizations have defined pathways​ to access stockpiled medical countermeasures from the SNS.  

What can they request

Jurisdictional health officials can request support for accessing medical countermeasures, including antibiotics, antitoxins, antidotes, and vaccines, as well as supplemental medical supplies and equipment. Needed products and supplies may be available direct from the SNS inventory or they may be procured or quickly made available from commercial supplies or other federal agencies.

How to make a request

When a need arises, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Operations Center (SOC) is the initial contact for requesting emergency supplies. The SOC is staffed by the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

A request may also come through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Operations Center, particularly for incidents that require clinical consultation. CDC’s operations center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year and can coordinate with the SOC to begin the request process, especially for Category A threats like anthrax or smallpox that require rapid response.

Emergency Contacts to Request Assistance

HHS Secretary’s Operations Center at 202-619-7800
CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100

What to expect once a request is made

When a request for support is received, ASPR watch officers will first gather critical information. Once that happens, coordination will begin immediately between the watch officers, the requesting officials, SNS leadership, subject matter experts (SMEs), ASPR regional staff and other federal agencies. Together, officials will either schedule a conference call with all involved parties (generally to occur within 15 minutes of the request being received) or directly connect the requestor with appropriate technical experts. These SMEs will discuss the request and confirm the nature of the public health threat, any human impacts already observed, the anticipated public health response, and the specific materiel requested. Requesting officials should be prepared to provide information on:

  • Location of the event or incident;
  • Nature of the threat, and any known human impact (morbidity or mortality), if known;
  • Size and type of population potentially affected; and
  • Summary of events leading up to the threat discovery

Depending on the scale and nature of the threat and whether a deployment from the SNS is needed, coordinating information may include: desired delivery locations and individual points of contact with mobile phone numbers for each delivery location; the jurisdiction’s site staffing timeline and ability to receive and store product; whether there is security staffing and any potential security threats; availability of a Drug Enforcement Agency registrant; and any local transportation challenges.

You can also expect ASPR’s Regional Emergency Coordinators (RECs) assigned to each of the HHS regions throughout the country to further help identify needs and assist with resolution.

Factors considered for deployment

While no two requests are exactly alike, factors that ASPR considers when a request is made include: available resources at the state and local levels, commercial availability, similar requests from other jurisdictions, and SNS inventory and available funding if new acquisitions are needed.  

ASPR strives to satisfy all requests for support from jurisdictions – both through direct product deployment and further technical assistance. Satisfying a request might not always result in deploying product from the SNS. ASPR can also assist in sourcing scarce products throughout the regions, navigating the commercial supply chain, and making further connections across ASPR and the federal government.

Individual or small-scale requests

Sometimes an isolated, time-critical incident, such as an individual patient with naturally occurring anthrax or botulism may occur, and the SNS is the only source for critical, life-saving medical countermeasures. These requests may originate from a clinician contacting CDC for consultation, from a notification by a jurisdictional public health official, or from an ASPR regional emergency coordinator assisting the jurisdiction with the request process. Regardless of how a request for assistance originates, ASPR and CDC work closely together to ensure a streamlined process, especially in time-sensitive situations.