This page describes activities during the
initial or emergency phase (generally the first 24-48 hours) of a
response to a suspected incident involving anthrax. It is intended
for personnel who discover the potential contamination and for first
responders on the scene.
and Initial Actions
soon as a initial anthrax contamination is confirmed:
- Call 9-1-1 for local police
assistance and the local Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal agencies located in buildings managed by GSA
should contact the Federal Protective Service.
- Notify the National Response Center
(NRC) at (800)424-8802. The NRC will notify
appropriate agencies, such as the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), FBI, United Stated Coast Guard (USCG), and
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to
arrange needed assistance.
- Contact the owner or operator of the facility.
- Direct occupants of the facility to report to a
designated meeting place, as identified in the local
facility response plan.
dial 9-1-1 if you
have a confirmed anthrax attack.
Agencies and Incident Command System/Unified Command
lead agencies responding to a suspected incident will coordinate
their efforts under a Unified Command (UC) within an Incident
Command System (ICS) to ensure their actions and resources are
integrated into a single, effective response. The UC for
anthrax response will usually include:
- Federal On-scene Coordinator (such as the EPA, USCG)
- State On-scene Coordinator and/or local Incident
Commander(s) (such as the local police, fire department,
or public health official)
- Facility manager or property owner
Assessment to Determine Credible Threat
efforts should be made to assess the situation and determine
whether the incident poses a credible threat. The
assessment may begin with a conference call with the reporting
party and involved agencies, such as the FBI, EPA, USCG, CDC,
and appropriate local health and law enforcement authorities.
If the report appears to be credible, the FBI and other
responding agencies will coordinate a site assessment to
confirm the threat.
Assessment to Verify Contamination
objectives of the Site Assessment sampling may include any of the
- Determine qualitatively whether any
spores are present. Typically, composite
samples of large areas and air volumes are obtained to
maximize the likelihood of finding contamination.
- Identification of Spores in a Bulk
Material (such as powder in an envelope) On-site
analysis may be used for preliminary assessment to
determine qualitatively if a bulk material is contaminated
- Determination of Contamination of an
Article Composite surface samples of large articles
and individual samples of small articles are collected to
determine whether the article's surface is contaminated.
such as this are used to
sample large volumes of air.
of Potentially Exposed Personnel
quickly as possible, facility managers and first responders should
identify personnel who might have been exposed, including:
Potential sources of data include:
- People in the area where the spores were released,
- People who may have handled contaminated items or packages,
- Response personnel.
- Employee timecards,
- Visitor logs, and
- Security videotapes.