What is the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)?

The CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving medications and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. The stockpile ensures the right medicines and supplies are available when and where needed to save lives.

The SNS includes medicine and medical supplies that can prevent or treat diseases related to a public health emergency. With access to these, the stockpile can respond to:  

  • Bacterial and viral diseases
  • Pandemic influenza
  • Radiation/nuclear emergencies
  • Chemical attacks
  • Natural disasters

What is a Point of Dispensing (POD)?

Points of dispensing (POD) are pre-identified sites strategically distributed throughout the city where public can pick up medications to protect them against a threat during public health emergencies.

  • Only medication for the particular threat will be dispensed at a POD Site. For example, if the threat is an anthrax release, then PODs will only dispense antibiotics for anthrax.
  • The medication is free to everyone.
  • No one will be asked for proof of residence, citizenship status or personal identification.
  • The DPH uses a head of household dispensing model. This means that one adult can pick up medications for all the members in their household as long as they can answer a few basic questions for each person: name, date of birth, gender and allergies. This reduces the volume of people at each POD and allows for faster dispensing times.
  • PODs will NOT treat sick people. If you are sick, you must report to your primary care physician, hospital or urgent care site.
  • Lines will be very long, be prepared to wait for a while. Everyone will need to be patient. Many people will need to pick up medication.

There are two types of PODs:

  • Open PODs are open to the general public and will be announced using multiple media resources.
  • Closed PODs are only open to specific groups. For example, large corporations, jails, or nursing homes may set up dispensing operations for the population they serve. If your organization is interested in becoming a closed POD, click here.

How to prepare to attend a POD?

  • Fill out your household’s Screening Form BEFORE arriving at the POD. This will be available online and via your phone app through Dispense Assist when the PODs are activated.
  • Dress appropriately for weather and standing, lines will be long being that we will be serving the entire El Paso population.
  • Bring a snack, water and any medication you may need to take on a schedule.
  • If possible, leave your children and other family members at home. Fewer people at the POD will allow for more efficient dispensing.

Steps to follow to receive medication at a POD

Step 1: BEFORE arriving the POD, complete the Dispense Assist Screening Form for you and your household members. You may print each of the vouchers generated or show them to the staff from your Dispense Assist phone app.

Step 2: At the POD, provide screening forms

Step 3: Pick up medication

Step 4: Final questions


City of El Paso Department of Public Health
Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Program
5115 El Paso Dr.
El Paso, TX  79905
Phone: 915-212-6624
Fax: 915-212-6520

Hours of Operation 
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program (PHEP) enhances the capacity of the Department of Public Health to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters.