Medical Emergency Distribution System (MEDS)


To ensure that Rhode Island maintains the ability to respond to a public health emergency by receiving, distributing, and dispensing medical countermeasures and supplies.


  • Achieved a score of 100 from CDC in 2014 for the Rhode Island MEDS plan.
  • Coordinated annual exercises of Points of Dispensing (PODs).
  • Utilized PODs for events such as H1N1, water distribution during hurricanes, and Tdap and Seasonal Flu vaccinations.
  • Coordinated general and position specific training for staff and volunteers.
  • Coordinated training for medical professionals on MEDS for continuing education credits.

What We Do

The MEDS program maintains the State’s plan to receive, stage, distribute, and dispense medical countermeasures and supplies during a public health emergency with the assistance of state and federal partners. The MEDS program reviews and offers guidance for all local MEDS Point-of-Dispensing (POD) Plans, provides POD staff training, and gives direction for dispensing the countermeasures to the general public. Volunteer at a POD

When and Why

An act of terrorism (or a large-scale natural disaster) affecting the United States may require rapid access to large quantities of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Such quantities may not be readily available unless special stockpiles are created in advance. Therefore, a national inventory of supplies, called the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has been created as a resource for all states.

What you should know about the medicines in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)

  • The medicine in the SNS is FREE for everyone.
  • The SNS has stockpiled enough medicine to protect people in several large cities at the same time.
  • Rhode Island works with the federal and local planners to ensure that the SNS medicines are delivered to the affected area to protect you and your family in the event of a public health emergency.

How you will get your medicine if the SNS is delivered to your area

  • Local communities are prepared to receive SNS medicine and medical supplies from the state to provide to everyone in the community who needs them.
  • Find out about how to get medicine to protect you and your family during an emergency by watching TV, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, checking the community Web site on the Internet, or learning from trusted community leaders.

Key Focus Areas

Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)

CDC's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is a large national repository of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency (terrorist attack, pandemic influenza outbreak, earthquake) severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. Once federal and local authorities agree that the SNS is needed, medicines will be delivered to any state in the U.S. within 12 hours. CEPR is responsible for keeping their MEDS plan up to date and in line with CDC guidance to ensure Rhode Island is capable of receiving and distributing medical supplies and countermeasures from the SNS. more

Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI)

The Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) is a federal effort designed to increase bioterrorism preparedness in the nation's larger cities. The goal is to save lives in these selected cities or Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) by rapidly dispensing medication to their entire population within 48 hours of the decision to do so. Providence is considered one of these cities; however, the entire State of Rhode Island is included in the Providence CRI MSA. The State, in collaboration with each municipality, has developed a comprehensive MEDS Plan to accomplish this goal. more


Rhode Island participates in the CDC's CHEMPACK program, the goal of which is to "forward place" chemical nerve agent antidotes throughout the country. In the case of a chemical nerve agent event, these antidotes would be readily available to local emergency responders to ensure a rapid response.

Forms & Reports


Data Request