Standard Active Last Updated: May 19, 2017 Track Document
ASTM E2770-17

Standard Guide for Operational Guidelines for Initial Response to Suspected Biological Agents and Toxins

Standard Guide for Operational Guidelines for Initial Response to Suspected Biological Agents and Toxins E2770-17 ASTM|E2770-17|en-US Standard Guide for Operational Guidelines for Initial Response to Suspected Biological Agents and Toxins Standard new BOS Vol. 15.08 Committee E54
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Significance and Use

5.1 Community knowledge and experience related to emergency response to threats with a biological agent or toxin at the Federal, State, tribal, and local levels has been translated into a standard guide to assist responder agencies’ progress toward the goal of building operational guidelines for the sample collection and response to a potential biological agent or toxin. The guide is intended to enhance the ability, knowledge, and communication between emergency response team representatives, including fire department, HAZMAT, local law enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and public health personnel as well as other responders that are responsible for responding to a threat incident involving a biological agent or toxin, or both.

5.2 This guide supports, and should be utilized as an accompaniment to standard sample collection methods (for example, Practices E2458). Standard guidance insures reduced exposure risk, minimizes on-site sample consumption for preservation of public health samples and forensic samples, reduces variability associated with sample handling, and analysis, and increases the reliability of the sampling procedure when collecting a sample of suspect biological agents and toxins.

5.3 Development of this standard was at the request and with considerable contributions from the public health and first responder communities in the United States to facilitate collection and evaluation of potential biological agents and toxins in the field.

5.4 This guide should be incorporated as a reference in Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs), emergency operations plans (EOPs) and Multiagency Coordination Systems (MACS) to assist in policy formation and development of strategic objectives consistent with the needs of the Incident Commander (IC).

5.5 Documents developed from this standard guide should be referenced and revised as necessary and reviewed on a two-year cycle (at a minimum). The review shall consider new and updated requirements and guidance, technologies, and other information or equipment that might have a significant impact on the management and outcome of biological incidents.


1.1 This guide provides considerations for decision-makers when responding to incidents that may involve biological agents and toxins. This guide provides information and guidance for inclusion in response planning, on activities to conduct during an initial response to an incident involving suspected biological agents or toxins, or both.

1.2 This guide delineates fundamental requirements for developing a sampling and screening capability for biological agents or toxins, or both, within a jurisdiction, practice, or operational area to assure proper involvement, communication, and coordination of all relevant agencies.

1.3 This guide applies to emergency response agencies that have a role in the initial response to unknown threats that are suspected biological agents and toxins. This guide is designed for but not limited to emergency response services such as law enforcement, fire departments, hazardous materials, public health, and emergency management.

1.4 This guide assumes implementation begins well before the recognition of an event with a suspected biological agent or toxin, or both, and ends when emergency response actions cease or the response is assumed by federal response teams.

1.5 This guide utilizes risk-based response architecture and the guidance as described in the National Response Framework and is intended to be coupled with the authority having jurisdiction's (AHJs) understanding of local vulnerabilities and capabilities when developing its plans and guidance documents on response to incidents involving a suspected biological agent or toxin, or both.

1.6 This guide is compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and uses Incident Command System (ICS) common terminology. Full compliance with NIMS is recognized as an essential part of emergency response planning. In developing this standard, every effort was made to ensure that all communications between organizational elements during an incident are presented in plain language according to NIMS 2008. In keeping with this NIMS requirement, key definitions and terms, using plain English, are incorporated.

1.7 This guide does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.8 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.08
Developed by Subcommittee: E54.01
Pages: 20
DOI: 10.1520/E2770-17
ICS Code: 13.300