NIST coordinating biothreat training

The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. National Guard are coordinating the training of state, local and federal first responders in the proper collection of reliable samples of potential biothreats.

“The aim of the operation is to provide a training lane that can help standardize the interface between initial local, state and federal responders to make sure everyone gets what they need from a collected sample of suspicious material, including providing a solid chain of custody,” Jayne Morrow, an NIST environmental engineer, said, reports. “Our goal here at NIST is to help integrate standards and training so that everyone from first responders to investigators knows they can rely on that sample.”

The project, called Operation Vigilant Sample, is intended to assist the 57 National Guard Civil Support Teams around the country that serve as the first wave of federal response to domestic chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear emergency incidents. The operation will aid the CSTs by providing consistent training to the first responders they would work with during an emergency, according to

“The Operation Vigilant Sample exercises have allowed the various state and federal responders an opportunity to develop their standard operating procedures in a collaborative manner,” Capt. Bryon Marsh of the National Guard Bureau said, reports. “As national guidance standards become available to responders, it is important that we have the opportunity to incorporate them as a community and standardize our response efforts.”