Objective: The Cities Readiness Initiative is a federally funded program designed to assist 72 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in preparing to dispense life-saving medical countermeasures within 48 hours of a public health emergency. Beginning in 2008, the 72 MSAs were required to conduct 3 drills related to the distribution and dispensing of emergency medical countermeasures. The report describes the results of the first year of pilot data for medical countermeasure drills conducted by the MSAs.
Methods: The MSAs were provided templates with key metrics for 5 functional elements critical for a successful dispensing campaign: personnel call down, site activation, facility setup, pick-list generation, and dispensing throughput. Drill submissions were compiled into single data sets for each of the 5 drills. Analyses were conducted to determine whether the measures were comparable across business and non-business hours. Descriptive statistics were computed for each of the key metrics identified in the 5 drills.
Results: Most drills were conducted on Mondays and Wednesdays during business hours (8:00 am-5:00 pm). The median completion time for the personnel call-down drill was 1 hour during business hours (n = 287) and 55 minutes during non-business hours (n = 136). Site-activation drills were completed in a median of 30 minutes during business hours and 5 minutes during non-business hours. Facility setup drills were completed more rapidly during business hours (75 minutes) compared with non-business hours (96 minutes). During business hours, pick lists were generated in a median of 3 minutes compared with 5 minutes during non-business hours. Aggregate results from the dispensing throughput drills demonstrated that the median observed throughput during business hours (60 people/h) was higher than that during non-business hours (43 people/h).
Conclusion: The results of the analyses from this pilot sample of drill submissions provide a baseline for the determination of a national standard in operational capabilities for local jurisdictions to achieve in their planning efforts for a mass dispensing campaign during an emergency.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2012;6:357–362)