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Control measure

Controlled burning: Biological agents

Control measure knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with Controlled burning

Hazard group/class 3 and 4 materials are tightly controlled because they can spread through the population. Controls include systems that will capture any potential release before it is able to escape the confines of the building.

In the event of a fire these systems may be compromised and the biological agent could escape if not destroyed by the fire. The two most likely routes for the material to escape would be in the smoke plume and the firefighting water run-off.

Employing controlled burn tactics should be sufficient to kill the agents before they are released but this will need to be confirmed with specialist advice.

See National Operational Guidance: Fires and firefighting.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Develop procedures for controlled burns at incidents involving biological agents

  • Provide equipment for controlling fire-water run-off that has become contaminated with biological agents, e.g. equipment supplied by environment agencies

  • Establish links with other agencies who will need to be informed if biological agents are released either via a smoke plume or fire-water run-off (environment and/or public health agencies)

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Deploy appropriate pollution control equipment to contain any firefighting run-off that may have become contaminated with biological agents

  • Notify relevant agencies if biological agents are believed to have been released in smoke or run-off

  • Keep firefighting personnel away from biological agents when not in suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) or respiratory protective equipment (RPE), including away from contaminated, equipment, clothing, firefighting run-off and smoke plumes.