5.3 Emergency Procedures5.3 Emergency Procedures
Emergencies can include both fire and non-fire emergencies. Fires are an "expected" emergency in all lab situations and almost all lab staff are trained on emergency steps in the event of a fire. “Non-fire” emergencies can include:
- Loss of electricity, heat, AC, water or other essential utilities.
- Failure of mechanical equipment such as HVAC systems and emergency generators.
- Flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other natural disasters.
- Nearby chemical releases of hazardous materials to the environment (from the lab down the hall or a ruptured tank car one-half mile away).
- Terrorist actions or civil unrest.
5.3.1 Laboratory Emergency Shutdown Procedures5.3.1 Laboratory Emergency Shutdown Procedures
Each laboratory facility should develop a non-fire emergency plan or incorporate non-fire emergencies into a master emergency response plan. Employees must be trained on the contents of the plan and how to respond in a non-fire emergency. Cornell EHS has devised a set of simple steps for the shutdown of labs in non-fire emergency situations. These and other steps, based on the requirements of the facility, should be included in the emergency response plan of each unit or facility. This list is by no means complete, but it gives laboratory personnel simple steps to ensure a safe lab shutdown.
- Close fume hood sashes.
- Be certain that the caps are on all bottles of chemicals.
- Turn off all non-essential electrical devices. Leave refrigerators and freezers on and make sure the doors are closed. Check the disconnects of large LASERs, radio frequency generators, etc. It may be necessary to check to ensure that essential equipment is plugged in to the power receptacles supplied by the emergency generator (usually orange or red).
- Turn off all gas cylinders at the tank valves. Note: If a low flow of an inert gas is being used to "blanket" a reactive compound or mixture, then the lab worker may want to leave the flow of gas on. This should be part of a pre-approved, written, posted standard operating procedure for this material or process.
- Check all cryogenic vacuum traps (Nitrogen, Carbon dioxide, and solvent). The evaporation of trapped materials may cause dangerous conditions. Check all containers of cryogenic liquids to ensure that they are vented to prevent the buildup of internal pressure.
- Check all pressure, temperature, air, or moisture sensitive materials and equipment. This includes vacuum work, distillations, glove boxes used for airless/moistureless reactions, and all reactions in progress. Terminate all reactions that are in progress, based on the known scope of the emergency.
- If experimental animals are in use, special precautions may need to be taken to secure those areas such as emergency power, alternative ventilation, etc.
- All non-essential staff/students must leave the building. Depending on the nature of the emergency, some staff may need to stay behind to facilitate the start-up of essential equipment once the lab is reopened.
- It is important to remember that some equipment does not shut down automatically – such as large cryogenic magnets, sources of radioactivity, and other pieces of equipment. Be sure to check any special operating procedures for your equipment before an emergency occurs.
5.3.2 Medical Emergency Procedures5.3.2 Medical Emergency Procedures
Call 911 (or 607-255-1111 from a cell phone in Ithaca Campus) in any emergency that requires immediate police, fire or medical response to preserve a life.
- Protect the victim from further injury or harm by removing any persistent threat to the victim or by removing the victim to a safe place if needed, however do not move the victim unnecessarily. Do not delay in obtaining trained medical assistance if it is safe to do so.
- Notify Cornell Police of the location, nature and extent of the injury by calling 911 or using a Blue Light or Emergency Telephone in Ithaca Campus. Always call from a safe location.
- Provide first aid until help arrives if you have appropriate training and equipment, and it is safe to do so.
- Send someone outside to escort emergency responders to the appropriate location, if possible.
5.3.3 First Aid Kits5.3.3 First Aid Kits
Individual departments and units are not required to maintain first aid kits in work spaces within the campus buildings. As indicated in OSHA (29 CFR 1910.151) and cited in the ANSI standard (ANSI Z308.1-2003) if medical attention can be reached within a reasonable time, or distance, to rely on the professionals and make that part of an emergency plan. Cornell’s EHS department has fully trained emergency responders on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Ithaca Campus. Injured personnel are encouraged to take advantage of this service by calling 911 from a campus phone or 607-255-1111 from a cell phone.
Outlying facilities, follow your facility Emergency Plan.
If you choose to have a first aid kit in your work space, then there are some additional requirements to address. The first aid content list should be viewed mainly as a starting point for an organization’s first aid kit, as many workplaces have job-specific risks that should be addressed on a case-by-case basis with the addition of products necessary to meet those unique needs. There needs to be a responsible person in your work space that is trained - with their contact information posted on the kit. The kit should be maintained and complete at all times. An Injury/Illness Exposure Reporting should be completed when a first aid kit is used due to an injury/illness in a Cornell University laboratory.
The appropriate Training is provided live by EHS. Course # EHS 5360 – AHA Heartsaver First Aid.
The ANSI Standard lists the following minimum fill requirements for a first aid kit:
- 1 - Absorbent compress, 4 x 8 in. minimum
- 5 yard Adhesive Tape
- 10 - Antiseptic applications, 0.14 fl.oz. each
- 1 - Triangular bandage, 40 x 40 x 56 in. minimum
- 16 - Adhesive Bandages, 1 x 3 inch
- 2 - Pair medical exam gloves
- 4 - Sterile pads, 3 x 3 in. minimum
- 6 - Burn treatment applications, 1/32 oz. each
5.3.4 Fire or Explosion Emergency Procedures5.3.4 Fire or Explosion Emergency Procedures
All fires must be reported to Cornell Police, including those that have been extinguished. Do not hesitate to activate the fire alarm if you discover smoke or fire. Outlying facilities, all fires including those that have been extinguished, must be reported to Cornell EHS (607-255-8200). Consult the Emergency Action Guide for outlying facility site specific procedures.
- Alert people in the immediate area of the fire and evacuate the room.
- Confine the fire by closing doors as you leave the room.
- Initiate a full building evacuation by activating the closest fire alarm pull station as you are exiting the building.
- Notify Cornell Police of the location and size of the fire by calling 911 from a campus phone, or 607-255-1111 from a cell phone or off campus phone, or using a Blue Light or Emergency Telephone. Always call from a safe location.
- Evacuate the building using the Emergency Evacuation Procedure. Do not use elevators to evacuate unless directed to do so by emergency responders.
- Notify emergency responders of the location, nature and size of the fire once you are outside.
If you have been trained and it is safe to do so, you may attempt to extinguish the fire with a portable fire extinguisher. Attempt to extinguish only small fires and make sure you have a clear escape path. If you have not been trained to use a fire extinguisher you must evacuate the area.
If clothing is on fire:
- Stop - Drop to the ground or floor and Roll to smother flames.
- Drench with water from a safety shower or other source.
- Seek medical attention for all burns and injuries.
5.3.5 Fire Extinguishers5.3.5 Fire Extinguishers
- All fire extinguishers are inspected monthly and maintained by Facilities and Campus Services in main campus and some outlying facilities. Other outlying facilities, a local contractor is provided.
- Laboratory personnel should perform regular visual checks (minimum on a monthly basis) to ensure fire extinguishers present in their labs are fully charged. For those fire extinguishers with a readout dial, labs only need to ensure the indicator arrow on the readout dial is within the green zone. If the indicator arrow is on either side of the green zone, which indicates a problem, then call EHS at 607-255-8200 to have the fire extinguisher replaced.
- Any fire extinguisher that has been used at all, even if it wasn’t fully discharged, needs to be reported to EHS so a replacement fire extinguisher can be provided in its place.
- The University Fire Marshal's Office conducts onsite Fire Extinguisher Training (course #5300) and can be scheduled through CU Learn.
5.3.6 Power Outage Procedures5.3.6 Power Outage Procedures
- Assess the extent of the outage in the unit's area.
- At outlying facilities, refer to your facility Emergency Action Guide.
- Report the outage to Cornell Customer Service Center at 607-255-5322.
- Assist other building occupants to move to safe locations. Loss of power to fume hoods may require the evacuation of laboratories and surrounding areas.
- Implement the unit's power outage plan. Evaluate the unit's work areas for hazards created by a power outage. Secure hazardous materials. Take actions to preserve human and animal safety and health. Take actions to preserve research.
- Turn off and/or unplug non-essential electrical equipment, computer equipment and appliances. Keep refrigerators and freezers closed throughout the outage to help keep contents cold.
- If needed, open windows (in mild weather) for additional light and ventilation (this is not always advisable in BSL2 labs).