The size and layout of your medication center(s) -- and the communication needs of your community -- will help determine the materials, signs and specific messages you'll need. Planning ahead to develop a plan for each site will save time when a disaster happens.
POD or medication center?
In the event of an exercise or real emergency, public health may work with a variety of emergency preparedness partners to activate mass medication dispensing sites. Through user testing, we learned the term "Point of Dispensing" (POD) was not always clear to all partners or to the general public. We recommend the term "medication center" instead of POD and will use that term throughout this site.
Planning & Tips
Planning ahead will help assure you are ready when you open a medication center. This section includes:
Why are signs important?
Complete signage is essential to directing crowd-flow in a medication center. Medication center activation plans should allow adequate time and staff to assemble and place all signs before the center opens.
Things to do before an event
Don't wait until a drill or an emergency to become familiar with the contents of the basic sign kit. Here are a few things you should do before an emergency occurs:
- Sign coordinators play an important role and should be included in related planning sessions.
- If possible, practice placing signs in the actual facility to be used as a medication center. This will help staff plan set-up logistics in advance and may save valuable time in an exercise or emergency event.
- Plan what signs will be needed to help with traffic and parking issues.
- Hardware for displaying signs. You may want to buy or develop ways of displaying signs, especially for larger signs and signs that need to be seen above the heads of people in the center. Examples of types of sign holders are PVC stands, metal stanchions, top sign holders, and hanging signs.
Suggested medication center layout
Every medication center will be different. This suggested layout is the basis of our sign kit design. Your medication center may differ in size, complexity or other factors. Planning ahead to account for those differences is crucial.
Assigning a signage coordinator
Coordinating signage set-up and placement can be extremely time-consuming. We recommend that each medication center appoint a signage coordinator to:
- Store and organize signs
- Practice set-up
- Train volunteers
- Work with planners to map out sign placement
- Ensure signs are delivered to the medication center
- Coordinate set-up and placement throughout the medication center
- Coordinate disassembly, complete inventory and return signs to storage
Printing signs ahead is helpful
We selected reusable rather than disposable signage materials.
Hardware costs are based on the assumption that signs will not be hung on ceilings or walls in medication centers, and will need floor stands or other display units.
To cut down on costs, consider:
- Printing signs as one-color jobs (such as black and white).
- Using disposable signage materials. (This may not reflect a cost-savings in the long-run as signs will need to be reprinted for each practice session, exercise or medication center activation.)
- Pre-planning how signs will be set-up and displayed in individual medication centers; some of the recommended hardware in the basic sign kit may not be necessary.
Although we found all recommended signs were necessary to help control crowd-flow through the medication center, you may want to edit the signage list.
Additional supplies to have ready
- Stock at least 20 zip ties per medication center (for banners and 48"x36" signs).
- Parking and foot-traffic signs are not part of the basic sign kit, but should be considered. (Basic parking signs are available at most hardware stores.)
- Having white-boards and markers available for unforeseen signs is also recommended.
- Stock basic supplies like scissors, sturdy tape, permanent markers and blank paper for making and hanging impromptu signs, and petroleum jelly for assembling and adjusting hardware.
Please feel free to use these resources as a guideline and modify them, as necessary, to meet your organization's needs. Many of the materials on this site were developed with local partners and were designed to meet the needs of local health jurisdictions in our state.