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Towers Crescent

  Biological / Chemical / Radiological Event

This section is designed to outline the policies, procedures, and security measures in place at Towers Crescent Drive in case of a biological, chemical or radiological event in or around the building. Please review the information in this section carefully as it contains important life safety information.

If you have any questions regarding this material, please do not hesitate to call the Building Management Office at (703) 761-7577.

Biological Event

The building will rely on local emergency personnel to administer any necessary medications in response to an emergency situation, including a dirty bomb, biological, chemical or other attack. These personnel have the medical expertise necessary to diagnose and provide the appropriate treatment in such a situation.

The building staff does not have the training to determine whether an unknown substance is hazardous. And calling the public agencies each time an unknown substance is found overtaxes their resources. The building occupant’s concerns regarding either an unknown substance or a potential threat against the building will not be ignored. The management staff will take some action to investigate all concerns and seek assistance, if needed.

Should a biological or chemical threat erupt outside the building, the following procedures will be implemented:

  • Building Staff will immediately shut down the building HVAC systems and outside air intakes.
  • Building Staff will immediately secure the perimeter by locking down the building. No one will be allowed admittance into the building. Unless otherwise directed by the local or Federal government agencies.
  • There will be notification to occupants to implement emergency response procedures below and to freeze movement inside the building. However, in the event of instructions from external agencies to evacuate the building, building occupants are to follow the emergency evacuation plan.
  • Tenant Contact is to obtain communication equipment, (suggested two-way radio), a battery power flashlight and signage to post at stairwells and elevators on the respective floors.
  • Tenant Contact is to direct people to assemble on the floor in the designated centralized gathering place within the building.

Building Staff will:

  • Advise Tenant Contacts of availability of building facilities.
  • Advise Tenant Contacts of instructions from external agencies.

Tenant Contact will:

  • Bring a current employee roster.
  • List and identify all occupants on their respective floor. Confirm, by taking attendance with the current employee roster, that all co-workers are present at the meeting place.
  • Inventory supplies.
  • Assess the situation and deter movement on floor.
  • Provide calm, intelligent leadership to co-workers.
  • Confirm handicapped persons requiring assistance.
  • Communicate information and instructions from Property Management staff and Public Safety officials to co-workers.
  • Cooperate in documentation of event circumstances and review conduct of evacuation with the Property Management staff and Public Safety officials if appropriate after the emergency is over.

Suspicious Substances

Unknown substances can take a variety of forms - from powder on the carpet, to oily liquids, to suspicious packages or envelopes left at the reception desk or in the mailroom. Office managers and tenant contacts, as well as property management staff, should become aware of the different kinds of cleaning substances, and other materials used in the office environment. Early recognition of harmless substances is an imperative step in limiting disruptions. When confronted with an unknown substance it should first be determined if the substance can be identified. Examples of easily identifiable non-hazardous substances include cleaning residue, such as cleaning powders; food residue, such as powdered sugar; concrete dust left by employees working in the loading dock or built-out space; spilled soda or other liquid on a tile floor or delivery area.

The following general rules and observations can be adopted as needed to minimize the number of incidents that require Hazmat responses:

  • Take a good look at the “powder” being investigated. If it is coarser than very fine sand, it may not become airborne and may not pose an inhalation risk.
  • Any substance found in conjunction with received credible threats, potential release devices, or other observed suspicious activities or items should be taken seriously.
  • Reception of collective information regarding observations of unusual health difficulties, surprising behavior, and suspicious activities focused in and about the building requires investigation.
  • Response to an unknown substance found at the facility will follow these rules.
    It may be harmful if:
  • An unexplained odor or human health signs or symptoms are present.
  • It is a solid; granules are much finer than sand (and the material is of a consistency or a size that could be easily inhaled, i.e., has the appearance of flour or confectioners’ sugar).
  • A specific threat has been made; a possible dissemination device has been found that coincides with the discovery of the unknown substance, or both.
  • There is colored residue, dead foliage, dead insects and / or animal life in the vicinity.

Responsive actions if the substance appears to be a threat:

Follow these procedures:

  • Notify your supervisor immediately. Call 911. Call the property manager.
  • Isolate the substance.
  • Do not touch, sniff, taste or handle the substance. Stay back.

If it is small enough in size, and it is possible to cover the envelope, package, or substance without disturbing it, do so carefully (Use protective gloves from a first aid kit if available) Use whatever is nearby (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, copy paper box) and DO NOT REMOVE this cover.

If you make physical contact with a suspicious substance, wash the area (usually your hands) thoroughly. If the substance is found on your clothing or shoes, remove the clothing, and put into a trash container, or plastic bag. Knot or twist the bag to close it. Do not squeeze the bag. This will force air out of the bag. Cover the container with some kind of lid or turn it upside down. Leave the contaminated items; do not carry them around in your possession.

If you contact an unknown substance, take the following precautions:

  • Close off the area.
  • Close the door.
  • Restrict access to the immediate area.
  • Reduce the air circulation for that location. Don’t keep walking in and out of the room.
  • Contact the building management staff from another location and request the building ventilation system be turned off for that location.
  • Direct others away from the area.
  • Evacuate outside of isolation radius.
  • Move people out of the adjacent desks, offices, and cubicles, that is, in close approximation to the substance. Clear the entire room. Persons who may have come in contact with the unknown substance should be evaluated by emergency medical services (EMS).
  • Execute evacuation plan.

Chemical Agent

Since chemical agents are typically acutely toxic, their effects are typically abrupt and obvious. Determinations as to whether an attack has occurred may be made by either detection or symptoms of the victims. The physiological impact on building occupants and visitors may lead to the immediate inference that they may have been exposed to a chemical agent. It is important to recognize key signs and symptoms of chemical exposure to react rapidly. More than any other type of attack, a chemical agent incident requires quick reaction because rapid response has a direct impact on the number of lives saved.

Response to a chemical agent incident will follow these general rules:

  • Recognition of a potential chemical agent incident.
  • You observe two or more people suddenly in physical distress with no obvious cause. For example:
    • Breathing difficulty or uncontrollable coughing.
    • Collapse.
    • Complaints of nausea
    • Seizures.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Complaints about an unusual odor.

Actions to be taken:

  • Notify 911.
  • Stop people from entering the area. Do Not Enter the contaminated area.
  • Do not evacuate people into the contaminated area/chemical cloud. Direct them to evacuate in the opposite direction of the incident or release.
  • Make notification to building engineering staff to shut off ventilation to area.
  • Ensure people who need assistance receive help from emergency personnel.

Radiological Event

The difficulty of responding to a nuclear or radiological incident is compounded by the nature of the radiation itself. In an explosion, the fact that the radioactive material was involved may or may not be obvious, depending upon the nature of the explosive device used. As well as utilizing explosive devices to disperse radiological material, a “carrier” could spread radiological matter (particles of radiological waste, etc.) throughout an area. The effects of this type of attack would not become evident for several days or weeks. Unless confirmed by radiological detection equipment, the presence of a radiation hazard is difficult to ascertain

The following are some indicators of a radiological release:

  • A stated threat to deploy a radiological device.
  • The presence of nuclear or radiological equipment (e.g., spent fuel canisters or nuclear transport vehicles).
  • Nuclear placards or warning materials along with the otherwise unexplained causalities.
  • Unexplained causalities with symptoms of radiation sickness.


  • If the results of the investigation indicate that a radiological terrorism incident is a realistic possibility, the responsive actions will depend on the evidence discovered.
  • If a suspected material or a dispersal device is found and if the threat is deemed credible, the general steps outlined for responding to an unknown substance should be taken.
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