Drills and Exercises Guidance: Examples of Entity Plan Drills/Exercises

Examples of Entity Plan Drills/Exercises

Listed below are examples of the kind of drills or exercises that can be planned to test an entity’s security, biosafety, and incident response plans. Consider the facility, the agents possessed, work activities and plans when determining the types of drills or exercises to conduct.


A security drill or exercise should involve the entity’s security personnel but may also include the local police and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation Weapons of Mass Destruction Office.

  • Consult with security personnel to simulate a break-in of the laboratory and note how soon security responds. For entities registered to possess, use or transfer tier 1 select agents and toxins, the required response time is 15 minutes.
  • Simulate discovery of an unauthorized individual in containment.
  • Simulate receipt of a suspicious package.
  • Simulate an explosion in containment that results in access to the select agent storage area.


A biosafety drill or exercise should involve laboratory staff and biosafety personnel but may also involve engineering staff or individuals from outside the organization. These exercises can occur during or after business hours as needed.

  • Simulate the collapse of a person in the laboratory and test how people respond, what communication is conducted, how the person is removed from the laboratory.
  • Simulate a power failure that results in the loss of main and auxiliary power sources.
  • Simulate a sudden release of large amounts of steam from the autoclave.
  • Simulate failure of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a tear in a glove, failure of a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR), or spill of agents or toxins on a Tyvek suit.
  • Simulate release of infected animals. This can be with small animals or large animals depending on the type the entity works with.
  • Simulate receipt of a package containing select agents or toxins that is found to be leaking.
  • Simulate exposure of a worker to an agent to test the medical surveillance protocols.

Incident Response

An incident response drill or exercise may be structured to involve community emergency responders or state emergency preparedness personnel.

  • Simulate any of the natural hazards appropriate for the area such as tornado, hurricane, flood, severe weather, etc.
  • Simulate complete disruption of all normal communication systems.
  • Simulate a large spill in a laboratory.
  • Simulate a directed evacuation while laboratory personnel are working.
  • Simulate a breach in the electronic information system for select agent information.
Page last reviewed: September 9, 2020