Regular review of the management of bioterrorism is essential for maintaining readiness for these sporadically occurring events. This review provides an overview of the history of biological disasters and bioterrorism. I also discuss the recent recategorization of tier 1 agents by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Laboratory Response Network (LRN), and specific training and readiness processes and programs, such as the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Laboratory Preparedness Exercise (LPX). LPX examined the management of cultivable bacterial vaccine and attenuated strains of tier 1 agents or close mimics. In the LPX program, participating laboratories showed improvement in the level of diagnosis required and referral of isolates to an appropriate reference laboratory. Agents which proved difficult to manage in sentinel laboratories included the more fastidious Gram-negative organisms, especially Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia spp. The recent Ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic provided a check on LRN safety processes. Specific guidelines and recommendations for laboratory safety and risk assessment in the clinical microbiology are explored so that sentinel laboratories can better prepare for the next biological disaster.