Home Interviews THMG136 – Biological Facilities Intro with Jacqui Hardt

THMG136 – Biological Facilities Intro with Jacqui Hardt


Bob and Mike get a serious lesson from an industry insider who knows all about the civilian side of biological facilities. We discuss the different types of operations that are out there, and the gap in training between the emergency services and the scientific community working within. Lots of takeaways in the episode.

Some take-away links from the show:

Or Contact Jacqui at : http://www.zoubekconsulting.com/

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  1. Introduction to me – what I do and where etc.
  2. Brief introduction to classification of biological organisms (risk groups 1-4 with a few common examples)
  3. Introduction to biological safety level containment laboratories (BSL-1 to BSL-4 and ABSL-1 to BSL-4 (A stands for animal, but this could also include insect labs))
  4. BSL-1 (extremely low hazard) and so no responder concerns for entering from an infectious perspective (can mention there will probably still be chemicals/compressed/cryogenic gases/radioactivity in these types of labs)
  5. Short discussion on BSL-2 laboratories
    1. Prevalence
    2. Hazards
    3. Emergency response considerations (including for immunocompromised personnel)
  6. Focus on BSL-3 laboratories
    1. Prevalence
    2. Select agent overview
    3. Set up of a typical facility, including access, security, interlocked doors, signage, typical floor plan, and typical infection control practices (negative pressure, PPE, equipment, containment practices inside the facility)
    4. Emergency scenarios that could occurk
  7. Focus on medical emergency with victim infectious disease contamination
    1. What would the scenario typically look like when the responder arrives?
    2. What is the actual risk to responders?
    3. What do the scientists expect the emergency responders will do?  i.e. Will they enter the suite?  General perception is “of course they will…they run into burning buildings all the time and this is a lot less dangerous”.
    4. What do the emergency responders expect they will do? i.e. Will they enter the suite?  From my understanding (which of course I will want you, as responders to weigh in on), the general perception is “hell no, I’m not going in there as I will catch a fatal disease”.
    5. Discussion of the gap
    6. What a typical response could look like, considering response time is an important factor
      1. What steps would the scientists take?
      2. What steps would the emergency responders take?
      3. How would contamination be contained (hot, warm, cold zones – also discuss animal facility special considerations – i.e. escaping infectious rodents)?
  8. Discussion on how to close that gap
    1. Figure out who has these types of laboratories – Facility Fire Inspections?
    2. Establish a trusted connection/pre-dialog with the Biological Safety Officers/Environmental Health and Safety Staff at the facility
    3. Have emergency responders pre-tour the facility
    4. Collaboratively develop emergency protocols, including law enforcement for select agent labs
    5. Source and stage emergency equipment (e.g. AED inside the BSL-3 suite, mechanics dolly for helping scientists to bring out victims, decontamination stations in PPE gowning area, plus anything else you, as responders, might suggest)
    6. Conduct drills, in that facility, with the emergency responders participating (recorded on video so all parties can have visibility during debriefing)
    7. Regular review and continuous improvement of emergency response program
  9. Wrap up
The Hazmat Guys

Author: The Hazmat Guys


  1. Hello Mike and Bob, hope you guys are doing well today. The biological facilities podcast caught my interest because we have several BSL 3 labs in our first due territory. If we have a response to one particular facility, their plan is for us to stage outside the facility, wait for someone to update what is going on, and if there is a patient, then we do a secondary decon and transport to a local trauma center with trained hazmat ER personnel. We, as first responders are to never enter the facility unless asked to do so on the scene. I personally would contact our dispatch to find out if this is a medical emergency patient or an exposure patient. We are there, for the most part, secondary decon and transport. I tried to push our department to buy 4 Biocell kits for our transport units but it was a no go. Our local BSL 3 labs have trained personnel on CPR/AED. They would bring the patient to us, completely deconed, near naked, decon a second time, and transport. We would advise the receiving hospital of what we have coming to their facility. Great podcast! Thanks guys!

    • This is excellent information that should be shared with the community. Thanks for listening and sharing.



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