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Test Of Emergency Decontamination Methods June 2

RSS XML FeedBackground Active May 28, 2007

Volunteers are needed THIS Saturday, June 2, from 6 am to noon to participate in a test conducted by Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Directorate (PFPA-CBRN) in partnership with the Arlington County, Virginia Office of Emergency Management (AC OEM) and Fire Department.  The purpose of this test is to improve the operational response of emergency personnel and automated building responses to an airborne outdoor biological attack. 

Specifically, volunteers ("test subjects" ) are needed to help evaluate personnel decontamination methods.  A single release of biological particulate tracer material, referred to as garden dust, will occur along an access road adjacent to the Pentagon.  The garden dust material has been reviewed and approved for use by the Pentagon Safety Office as well as approved for use on day-of-harvest agricultural food crops by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Test subjects will be positioned at locations outside on the Pentagon reservation and inside the Pentagon building which are typical of normal day-to-day personnel locations.  Post-release, test subjects will undergo surface sampling of their skin, hair, and clothing to evaluate their exposure to the particulate tracer.  Test subjects will then be bussed to a decontamination station near the Pentagon Navy Annex, and directed according to a pre-assigned designation code to a tent where they will undergo water-based decontamination.  Post-decontamination, subjects will undergo another round of surface sampling of their skin and hair to evaluate removal of the particulate tracer.

If you volunteer to participate in this study, you will be asked do the following things:

  •   Stand at a designated position on the Pentagon Reservation, beginning 30minutes before the garden dust release.  This location will be either inside the building or in the Pentagon’s South Parking lot.  If your designated location is outdoors, you will be provided with a dust mask. 
  • Between T+15min and T+60 min post-release, test participants will be asked to queue at a shuttle bus stop on the south side of the Pentagon and to board an awaiting shuttle bus.
  • You will be transported by shuttle bus to a personnel decontamination station set up near the Navy Annex.
  • You will undergo surface wipes of your skin, hair and clothing to evaluate your exposure to the particulate tracer.
  • According to a pre-assigned code, you will be directed to a decontamination area.
  • At your decontamination area, you will be asked to remove your clothing, down to the swimwear.  Your clothing will be bagged with your ID code, and be returned to you at the end of the test.  Please bring a pair of flip flops to wear during the decon.
  • You will undergo water-based decontamination, either singly or as a group.  Water-based decontamination is just an overhead water shower for a prescribed duration. 
  • After the decon process, you will undergo additional surface wipes of your skin and hair to evaluate removal of the particulate tracer.
  • You will be provided with fresh towels, and a private area in which to change into a fresh set of your own clothing. 
  • The total duration of your participation is expected to be no greater than 6 hours.

ANTICIPATED BENEFITS: The data obtained in this exercise will guide the future operational response decisions by Federal, State and Local government agencies to airborne biological attacks in urban areas.  Effective response will improve medical treatments, reduce decontamination costs and speed the recovery to operations of affected facilities. 


 ·        To prevent the possibility of exposure to nuisance dust levels during the release, all participants staged outside the Pentagon will be offered a nuisance dust mask.

·        In order to respect the privacy of all test participants, all test subjects are advised to wear swimwear under their street clothing to wear in the decon shower.

·        The decon shower will be a cold water shower.  Medical personnel will oversee the decon process and intervene in case of medical distress.


  • Volunteers should be over 18 years of age and be physically ambulatory;
  • Arrival time is 6 am and the exercise will conclude at 12 noon;
  • Parking: FOB2 (Navy Annex);
  • Bring 1 photo ID, 1 ID with name;
  • Wear a swimsuit under street clothes, bring a change of clothes, shoes, and flip-flops to walk through decon.

TO REGISTER:  Contact Shauna Darby Piedrahita, 703-797-3144,

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