The aim of the CBRN Biomedical sampling and sample handling course is to provide CBRN response personnel, especially those part of sampling teams and medical response teams, with the required background knowledge and skills to take biomedical samples from (potential) victims (alive and deceased) of a CBRN incident. Course participants will be able to take biomedical samples, handle, pack and transport them to respective analytical laboratories while maintaining chain of custody and fulfilling transport safety requirements. An optional extra training day focuses on effective collaboration between biomedical sampling teams and analytical laboratories. 

Learning objectives

At the conclusion of the course, the participants will be able to: 

  • Know which types of biomedical samples (blood, urine, hair, tissue) yield the most promising biomarkers of exposure to different CBRN agents 
  • Determine if biomedical sampling from a (potential) victim is reasonable and which victims to prioritise for sampling 
  • Demonstrate knowledge on the applicability of biomedical samples from animals 
  • Demonstrate biomedical sampling in a hospital and in a field setting 
  • Determine special requirements and arrangements necessary for biomedical sampling during a post-mortem procedure 
  • Determine special requirements and arrangements for exhumations 
  • Pack and document biomedical samples for transport (including air transport according to IATA regulations) 
  • Establish and maintain chain-of-custody of samples 
  • Effectively integrate sampling activities into the overall incident response 
  • (Optional day: Effectively coordinate sampling with the analysing laboratory regarding types and numbers of samples taking into account requirements and needs of the laboratory side) 


The CBRN biomedical sampling course is a 4(+1) day course that offers lectures, practical and table-top exercises and hand-on training. Lectures will introduce participants to different types of biomedical (forensic) markers and how to sample for them in different sampling settings (hospital vs. field // alive vs. deceased) as well as packing and transport requirements for samples. Table-top exercises will go through whole CBRN incidents focusing on biomedical sampling and movement of samples to a laboratory while maintaining strict chain-of-custody. 

Practical exercises will focus on field preparation of samples, packaging (according to different standards including IATA for air transport) and sample handling. The optional 5th day focuses on the need for close cooperation with the analysing laboratory personnel and the value of reach back capabilities.

Course participants

CBRN response personnel responsible for sampling and securing forensic evidence, medical personnel receiving and handling biomedical samples, leadership personnel deciding if and how biomedical samples should be collected after an incident. The optional 5th day of the course would also include laboratory personnel responsible for sample analysis.

Course prerequisite

CBRN General Awareness

Knowledge in CBRN emergency medical services is an asset for participating first responders. 


32 h (+ 8h) hours

The course is delivered over four days with an attendance of 8h per day. An optional 5th day is offered including laboratory personnel focusing on the necessary communication and interoperability of sampling teams and laboratory/analytical personnel. 

Language proficiency

English (Translation services upon request) 

Course Certification

Core CBRN Biomedical sampling and sample handling Certificate