Department of Emergency Management and Security

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30p.m., Monday - Friday
4890 Alliance Drive, Suite 2200, Fairfax, VA 22030
Seamus Mooney

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN)

What It Is

Intentional attacks using weaponized or non-weaponized chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials can cause great harm and pose significant threats. Weaponized materials can be delivered by using conventional bombs, improvised explosive materials, enhanced blast weapons, and even non-explosive dispersion devices (including canisters and envelops). Non-weaponized chemical materials are typically categorized as "hazardous materials" (HazMat).

CBRN releases sometimes require extended clean-up efforts and/or law enforcement investigations, and they may therefore result in residents being unable to be in their homes for long periods of time.

CBRN Hazard Annex


CBRN Hazard Annex

Click on the appropriate link below to download a PDF copy of the CBRN Hazard Annex page from the Community Emergency Response Guide.

English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF) | Korean (PDF) | Arabic (PDF) | Mandarin (PDF) | Vietnamese (PDF)

Key Terms

  • An Accidental CBRN incident is an incident containing a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear material caused by human error, natural or technological reasons such as spills, accidental releases or leakages. Accidental release of non-weaponized chemical materials is typically categorized as a "hazardous materials" (HazMat) incident.
  • An Intentional CBRN incident is a criminal act that involves serious violence against persons or property or the illegal dumping of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear materials.

What To Do

  • Sign up for Fairfax Alerts and have a battery or crank powered NOAA weather radio available.
  • Identify a shelter-in-place within your home or business.
  • Learn First Aid.
  • Refer to Medical Emergency hazard annex.

  • Listen to official information: if you are told to evacuate, do so.
  • If you are told to stay inside:
    • Take family members and pets to your predetermined shelter-in-place location.
    • Close all windows and vents, seal windows and doors with tape or wet towels, and turn off all fans and air-exchange heating or cooling systems.
  • If you are outside at the time of the incident, try to stay upstream, uphill, and upwind.
  • If you are in a vehicle, stop and find shelter in a permanent building.
  • Stay away from the incident site.
  • Local officials may direct you to locations to receive medical treatment or services. Follow all instructions provided by local officials through the media.

  • Leave your shelter-in-place location or return home when officials say it is safe.
  • Check in with family and friends by texting or using social media.

  • Fairfax County does not have any Fallout Shelters.
Fairfax Virtual Assistant