Laboratory Emergency Preparedness


The Laboratory Services Emergency Preparedness program is committed to continual improvement of laboratory preparedness and response and has improved our laboratories' capacities to respond to biological and chemical threats.

Sentinel Clinical Laboratories - Revised Definition Now Available

The definition of sentinel clinical laboratories, revised by the APHL Laboratory Response Network Joint Leadership Committee, was published in April 2018.  The definition can be found on the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) website. Other Laboratory Response Network information can also be found on the ASM website.

Please contact Kim Newman, (406) 444-3068, or by email, for the Montana Sentinel Clinical Laboratories Criteria for Certification checklist.

Call the Montana Laboratory Services Bureau at (800) 821-7284 for information regarding the following public health emergencies:

Exposure to Toxic Chemical Agents

Specimens for Rapid Toxic Screens are collected in the event of suspected exposure of population to agents of chemical terrorism. Information regarding this testing, as well as instructions for sample collection, can be found on the CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response website, under Chemical Emergencies.  Please remember that specimens should be shipped to MTLSB for forwarding to the CDC for screening.  These are legal samples and will require a chain of custody form.  Contact the Montana Laboratory Services Bureau if you need a copy of a chain of custody form.


Water Tampering

Drinking Water Emergency Sampling (DWES)

Each local health jurisdiction is responsible for maintaining the location of these sampling kits.  Please contact the preparedness coordinator at your local health department for this information.

These are legal samples for drinking water emergencies that will require a chain of custody form, which is included in the drinking water emergency sampling kit.

Unknown Substance Sampling

Please see CDC's website for their Laboratory Response to Suspicious Substances for information regarding sampling for unknown substances.  Each local health jurisdiction and HAZMAT team has been assigned Chemical and Biological Agent Transport (CBAT) kits to provide a consistent mechanism for collecting and transporting samples to MTLSB.  These samples must be pre-screened for biological, chemical, radiological, explosive, and flammable agents before submission, and require a chain of custody form, which is included in the kit.

Submission of Samples to MT LSB

Contact the Montana Laboratory Services Bureau at (800) 821-7284 for a Chain of Custody Form for samples that are not collected using the DWES or CBAT kit.

MT Laboratory Services Bureau Courier Information can be found on the MTLSB website under "Courier Routes and Sample Delivery".