Vaccine refrigeration planning

The folks at the Texas Department of State Health Services have created a vaccine refrigeration planning model that is available on their pandemic influenza web page. Dr. Cynthia Morgan led the development of the model. She emphasized in an email to me: “One important thing to note is the model takes thermodynamic into account for air circulation around master cartons. You can’t just pile them in the unit as tight as possible or there will be temperature problems.”

The model is a Microsoft Excel workbook that determines the storage space needed to keep vaccine refrigerated. The data inputs include the population to be served, the size of the vaccine storage cartons, and the type of shelving used. The model estimates the storage space needed in terms of cartons and shelves.

Master the Disaster

The Dekalb County, Georgia, Advanced Practice Center has created Master the Disaster, a tool that helps with the preparation of a tabletop exercise. According to Julie Smith, “What we wanted to do was take btCreate, which was extremely popular for several years after it came out, and create a sequel, updating it, adding more scenarios, expanding the resources section, providing better and greater interactivity, customization options and a lot more features. It also includes a 70-page Facilitator’s Guide that takes you step-by-step through everything you need to know to plan, design, conduct and evaluate a tabletop exercise, including a template for your After Action Report. The scenarios are: anthrax, botulism, hurricane, pandemic flu, plague, radiological dispersal device (RDD) and smallpox. Basically it’s btCreate on steroids.”

Julie would be happy to send you a free CD-ROM copy; her contact information is on the web site mentioned above.

CDC Stockpile Routing webinar

Today’s webinar on the CDC stockpile routing portal to TourSolver just finished.  (There will be another one on April 2, 2008.) According to Kevin Callen, the moderator from C2Logix, there were 96 folks participating.  I was preregistered.  At the appointed time, I had to login to the website and then install the GoToWebinar viewer, which brought up a window on which I could see Kevin’s computer and a little window for asking questions.  Also, I dialed into the conference call, on which I could hear Kevin explaining everything.

He gave an overview of the software, which finds a set of routes for trucks to deliver fixed quantities to PODs in the shortest possible time.  A user has to register to get access to the software and then schedule a session (right now, only one person can use the CDC portal at a time, though that is supposed to change).  During a session, a user can link files on his computer to the software, run the optimization, get the results, change the data, and run it again to consider different scenarios.  The input data requires either street addresses or coordinates for the PODs and the RSS.  Different trucks can have different quantities and start from different locations (it appears).  The optimization cycle takes only a few minutes. The results include routes for each truck, maps, turn-by-turn directions, and the mileage chart between locations.  All can be exported to Excel, Word, or text.

Kevin answered questions and explained things clearly. Altogether, a nice webinar about a very useful planning model.

Emergency Management Logistics seminar

A manager at C2Logix, the developers of TourSolver, let me know that they are hosting a free seminar on their Emergency Management Logistics Routing Technology on Monday, March 31, 2008, from 1:30 to 3:30 PM at the Marriott Courtyard Dunn Loring Fairfax, 2722 Gallows Road, Vienna, Virginia 22180. If you are interested, contact Francois Coulombe at

RSS Distribution Model

The CDC Stockpile Routing Web Portal provides no-cost access for planners to use the TourSolver software to generate routes for distributing medication from an RSS to multiple PODs. The portal is provided by the CDC and developed by C2Logix.  There will be a webinar on next Tuesday, March 11, 2008, to demonstrate its use and train users. I plan to participate and will let you know what happens.