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Emergency response

For the scenarios, situations have been chosen that are realistic, but could also occur in another context within your organisation. The following questions are designed to give an impression of whether the described scenario is relevant in your organisation.

Questions for your organisation:

  • Is the situation recognisable?
  • Is the situation realistic? (or realistic in another context?)
  • What are the vulnerabilities in this situation?
  • What are the possible consequences of this situation?
  • What control measures can be taken to prevent the scenario?
  1. 1

    Contamination of a police officer after response to a burglary in a high containment facility

    Security Staff detect a forced lock, which gains access to a high-containment laboratory. When the police arrive, an unprotected officer enters the laboratory to investigate what looks like a possible burglary and is exposed to high-risk pathogens.

    Respons - Scenario 1_1

    It is important to have a person of contact in your organisation who is available 24/7 to serve as a liaison for external emergency response services (in this case the police), in response to incidents, accidents and emergencies. Proper coordination between your organisation and external emergency response services can prevent incidents, accidents or emergencies from escalating.

    Other relevant biosecurity pillars of good practice: physical security, awareness

    • Unfamiliarity of external emergency response services with aspects of biosafety and biosecurity can make your organisation vulnerable for escalation of incidents, accidents or emergencies.

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?
  2. 2

    Contamination of firefighters after response to a fire in a laboratory

    In response to a fire alarm in a high-risk area, the fire brigade arrives on site in the middle of the night. They immediately start fire extinguishing procedures and become contaminated with pathogens present in the laboratory, due to a lack of protective gear. It was unclear to the firefighters what types of hazardous materials were present and who could have provided information on the materials present on the premises.

    Respons - Scenario 2_0

    It is important to have a person of contact in your organisation who is available 24/7 to serve as a liaison for external emergency response services (in this case the fire brigade), in response to incidents, accidents and emergencies. Proper coordination between your organisation and external emergency response services can prevent incidents, accidents or emergencies from escalating.

    Other relevant biosecurity pillars of good practice: physical security, awareness

    • Unfamiliarity of external emergency response services with aspects of biosafety and biosecurity can make your organisation vulnerable for escalation of incidents, accidents or emergencies.

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?
  3. 3

    Power failure

    The physical security of a building, with indoor high-containment laboratory, has failed due to a power failure. An employee takes advantage of this situation, enters the high-containment laboratory and copies confidential information from a laptop computer to a thumb drive.

    Respons - Scenario 3_0

    The moment power supply fails, security systems can fail as well. It is important to be able to anticipate this type of events by adding a second layer of physical security. For example, by additional monitoring of security staff at the high-containment laboratory.

    Other relevant biosecurity pillars of good practice: information security, physical security

    • Various biosecurity vulnerabilities may arise resulting from a power failure, e.g. security of data and information, and physical security.

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?
  4. 4

    Inventory incident

    During an inspection (or audit), it appears that a number of materials in the freezer are missing. It is difficult to determine who had access to the laboratory, and displacement of materials has not been documented. Therefore, it is difficult to establish if this incident involves theft or negligence of employees regarding inventory policy.

    Respons - Scenario 4_0

    Proper procedures regarding material accountability may reduce the probability of such events. However, material displacement or theft can still occur. It is important to assign responsibilities and elaborate on scenarios describing these types of events. For an external emergency response service (e.g. police), it must be clear which control measures are needed when (high-risk) materials are missing. These include measures such as investigation and prosecution regarding theft, or an official report describing the incident as a result from negligence.

    Other relevant biosecurity pillars of good practice: accountability for materials, awareness

    • When registration is inadequate, displacement or theft of high-risk materials can go unnoticed.

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?
  5. 5

    Triggered fire alarm

    A visitor activates a fire alarm, which results in the unlocking of doors gaining access to a high-containment laboratory. This way, the visitor is able to gain access to the high-containment laboratory and steels a number of test tubes containing pathogens.

    Respons - Scenario 5_0

    Magnetic locks of doors gaining access to high containment laboratories can become unlocked due to electricity cut off, after a fire alarm is triggered. It is important to be able to anticipate to these situations, for example, by applying a second layer of physical security. This could include deploying extra security personnel to supervise high-containment laboratories.

    Other relevant biosecurity pillars of good practice: information security, accountability for materials, physical security

    • Unrestricted access to high containment laboratories, for instance, due to a fire alarm inducing a power cut off, and may result in increased biosecurity vulnerabilities, such as accountability of materials, information security and physical security.

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?

    Is this scenario applicable to your organisation?