University of Arkansas Points of Distribution system discussion

Add and comment to these two posts with references

Post one:

Points of Distribution (POD) during a disaster are expected to very beneficial. Although the primary reason of setting the PODs up is as a source of supplies for the resources that enhance recovery and restoration of the victims, the POD can also be detrimental hence increasing pain and distress of the victims instead of alleviating such. Many issues may cause a POD to be detrimental instead of being beneficial to the victims and thus prolonging the time of rescue and recovery in a disaster operation. These issues may arise due to poor planning or lack of proper management.

Issues that may make a POD to be detrimental

One of the issues that determine how useful a POD can be is the location. A POD can be detrimental where the location is not well thought of before setting it up. For instance, if a POD is set up across a busy street where those collecting the resources need to cross a busy highway, the issue of safety may arise. Additionally, the traffic jam may result and delays in delivery of supplies to the victims may be delayed which may cause more distress to the victims (Shea, 2008). Again, if a POD is set up in a place where infrastructure is poor especially regarding accessibility, the center may not be very useful as it may result in delays which might worsen the condition of the victims.

When a POD is set up without enough personnel to serve the supplies, it may result in commotion and delays. In any rescue mission, the speed of response in rescue and recovery has a significant impact on the success of the rescue mission and the whole of disaster operation. There could also be enough personnel, but lack of proper communication may deter smooth operation of the POD which eventually affects the speed of the operation (Othman, 2013). If a POD also lacks adequate equipment for handling the supply, it may also result in delays and hence affecting the speed of the operation. It is, therefore, imperative that during the planning and set up, communication, personnel, and essential equipment are taken into consideration depending on the magnitude of the operation.

A POD may have all factors taken care of, but if it lacks sufficient supplies, its impact in the disaster operation may not be felt. Therefore, resource allocation should be planned for according to the magnitude of the disaster and the population affected. These resources should also be well balanced depending on the needs that need to be met. For instance, supplying much of the food staff without providing the victims with enough clean drinking water may also affect the effectiveness of the operation.

Improving Upon the Process

In addressing and improving these issues that are likely to limit the speed of disaster operation and the effectiveness of it, I would advocate for proper planning and cost accounting to ensure that what is needed by the victims is what is actually supplied. The main issue I would consider regarding a POD is the best fit location and infrastructure that will support the POD operation. Additionally, I would ensure that proper communication flow is in place to avoid delays and confusion in the supply chain.


Boudhoum, Othman, (2013). Disaster Relief Models: Location of Points of Distribution. Industrial Engineering Undergraduate Honors Theses. 6.Retrieved from

John, Shea, (2008, Nov 12). Planning and Executing a POD Mission. FEMA Retrieved from

Post Two:

The Point Of Distribution is a system utilizes an accessible, centralized location where the general public is able to obtain specifically determined emergency supplies such as food, water, and/or prophylactic medications following a disaster. To be effective in times of disaster, community-level PODs must be predetermined related to location, supplies, implementation, and access. POD plans are developed by local health departments in coordination with the United States (U.S.) Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Together these agencies develop the POD plan, including the location, staffing needs to deploy the system, and specific commodities to be distributed (Harkness & DeMarco, 2016). Agencies develop training programs to assist public health personnel to maintain competency related to the POD system, and specifically in the activation in the event of a disaster (Harkness & DeMarco, 2016).

Transportation is the element in the logistics chain that makes it possible for assistance to arrive at the site where it is required (the arrival of goods from abroad, as the movement of them within the country). When defining the transportation strategy, it is important to take into consideration not only the necessary means and resources to move the supplies, but also to determine what the actual possibilities and alternatives are to deliver assistance. Alternative means, methods, and routes should be considered as a matter of course. Supplies should not just be moved in any way and at any time, but that the challenge is to do so safely and in a timely manner. This requires may be the use of all the available means. When deciding which means of transport to use, we have to think about two tasks: the needs on the ground (urgency, type of supplies, distance of the destination, other conditions, as routes, weather, etc.) and feasible forms of transport (available means, cost, transmission capacities, etc.).

When a consignment is on the road, it must be protected against damage, the weather, theft, and other eventualities, while when hazardous materials are transported, basic, standardized security measures must taken into consideration. As concerned as the route, the selection must be taken depending on the kind of transport available, the urgency of the delivery, and the delivery schedule. Some basic principles are the following:

The safest route must be chosen even if it is not the fastest or shortest one.

It is important to identify key services along the way, such as places where one may obtain fuel, food, mechanical repairs or medical care. It is also important to identify potentially insecure segments of the route. Any change or deviation from the agreed-upon route, as well as any other special situation that may arise during the trip, must be communicated immediately to the nearest base, whether it is the point of departure, the delivery point, or a base in between. Similar principles have defined for the air operation, including landing site, kind of aircraft, etc.


Haghani, A. E., & Afshar, A. M. (2009). Supply chain management in disaster response. University Park, Penn.: Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Center.

Rafferty-Semon, P., Jarzembak, J., Shanholtzer, J., (January 31, 2017) “Simulating Complex Community Disaster Preparedness: Collaboration for Point of Distribution” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 22, No. 1, Manuscript 3.

Harkness, G. A., & DeMarco, R. F. (2016). Community and public health nursing: Evidence for practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.