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CBR Response

Chemical, Biological and Radiological attacks have the potential to cause significant harm or damage and disruption to infrastructure. CBR attacks can be difficult to conduct, often requiring expertise and resources.

Attacks can involve the use of corrosive or flammable chemicals, toxic industrial, biological or radioactive materials. The damage and injury caused by a CBR attack depends on the material and the manner in which it is deployed and may not be immediately obvious.

CBR recognition, First indicators may include:

  • Individuals showing unexplained signs of skin, eye or airway irritation, nausea, vomiting, twitching, sweating, disorientation, breathing difficulties.
  • The presence of hazardous or unusual material/equipment.
  • Unexplained vapour, mist clouds, powder, liquids or oily drops. 
  • Distressed birds or animals.
  • Odd smells or taste.

For further advice please see: Recognise, Assess, React (RAR) for Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Incidents | NPSA

Potential dispersion and exposure methods include:

  • Spraying (liquids or powders).
  • Gas release (e.g gas cylinders).
  • Contamination (e.g food or drink).
  • Materials left in situ.

If you think someone has been exposed to a hazardous substance use caution and keep a safe distance to avoid exposure yourself. If you have been affected, the instructions in Remove, Remove, Remove may be followed:

REMOVE THEMSELVES from the immediate area to avoid further exposure to the substance. Fresh air is important.

  • REPORT… to the emergency services.

REMOVE OUTER CLOTHING if affected by the substance

  • Try to avoid pulling clothing over the head if possible.
  • Do not smoke, eat or drink.
  • Do not pull off clothing stuck to the skin.

REMOVE THE SUBSTANCE from skin using a dry absorbent material to either soak it up or brush it off.

  • RINSE continually with copious amounts of water if the skin is itchy or painful until help arrives. 


When should you use the REMOVE advice?

  • If you think you have been deliberately or accidently exposed to a hazardous substance
  • If you think you have been attacked with a corrosive or acidic substance.

For further advice download the Threat Recognition Guide

Documents title

REMOVE advice

Screening mail and courier deliveries: 

  • Possible Indicators that a Delivered Item Might be of Concern please see:  NPSA
  • Action Upon Discovery of any Suspicious Delivered Item NPSA
  • Mail Screening Matters NPSA