Fire Experience • Small bench top fires are typical and not uncommon. • Fire is the most common serious hazard that one faces in a typical chemistry laboratory. While proper procedure and training can minimize the chances of an accidental fire, you must still be prepared to deal with a fire emergency should it occur. • Labs with a high fuel load have a high potential for flash fires, explosions, rapid spread of fire and high toxicity of combustion products.
Plan your work. Most lab fires result from carelessness! Minimize materials. Have present only the materials necessary. Observe proper housekeeping. Store solvents properly. Keep flammables in explosion-proof refrigerator. Don’t block automatic door closures. Wear proper clothing and hair styles. Prevention
Why is hair style important? Great! Terrible!
What about the doors? • Automatic door closures cannot be propped open! If your door is broken-call Maintenance and/or Safety to report the broken door.
Flammables • Store away from corrosives and oxidizers • Maximum amount in any lab is 50L. • All containers holding flammables must be labeled as such. • Don’t put flammable storage cabinets near door. • Keep away from bunsen burners
Combustibles • Practice good housekeeping- don’t keep unnecessary paper and boxes in lab. • No combustibles (paper, cardboard or plastic) may be kept in any corridor.
LSO Fire Monitor Duties • Know the fire procedure (pull-call-fight-evacuate) • Ensure that all lab members know the fire procedure and the location of emergency equipment • Arrange for a designated place to meet lab group • When a “Code Red” sounds- respond. If there is a call to evacuate- assist in getting lab group to evacuate to stairs.
Don’t Panic! • In a fire, most people die from gas inhalation and smoke. The majority of the time, people panic and forget what to do. Keep calm.
During the year 2000- there was only one serious fire situation. During some microbiology work, a plastic container of ethanol caught fire. The container melted, causing the lit ethanol to spread. The biggest problem was when to pull the alarm, before or after fighting the fire- tough decision! The problems encountered: Fire alarm was not pulled immediately. Security was called instead of x2-3232 Security came up instead of pulling alarm and calling fire #! Learn from the Past...
Using Fire Extinguishers • You are not required to fight a fire. Ever. If you have the slightest doubt about your control of the situation DO NOT FIGHT THE FIRE. • Attempt to use an extinguisher only if ALL of the following apply: • The building is being evacuated (fire alarm has been pulled) • The fire department is being called (x2-3232). • The fire is small, contained and not spreading beyond its starting point. • The exit is clear, there is no imminent peril and you can fight the fire with your back to the exit. • You can stay low and avoid smoke. • The proper extinguisher is immediately at hand. • You have read the instructions and know how to use the extinguisher. • IF ANY OF THESE CONDITIONS HAVE NOT BEEN MET, DON'T FIGHT THE FIRE YOURSELF. CALL FOR HELP, PULL THE FIRE ALARM AND LEAVE THE AREA.
The 3 Types of Fires • The type of fire corresponds to the type of extinguisher • Class A - Ordinary Combustibles • Such as wood and paper • Class B - Flammable Liquids • Such as gasoline and alcohol • Class C - Electrical Fires • Includes power panels, computers
If You Are Going To Fight... • If you have any doubt about your personal safety, or if you can not extinguish a fire, leave immediately and close off the area (close the doors, but DO NOT lock them). Leave the building but contact a firefighter, or safety or security to relay whatever information you have about the fire. • Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher. • Stand several feet from the fire, depress the handle and sweep back and forth towards the fire. • Do not walk on an area that you have "extinguished" in case the fire reignites or the extinguisher runs out! • Remember: you usually can't expect more than 1 minute of extinguishing power on a typical fire extinguisher. • Practice using a fire extinguisher beforehand. • Direct the extinguisher at the base of the flames until the fire is completely out.
I’m On Fire! • If your clothing is on fire (and the floor is not), STOP, DROP and ROLL on the ground to extinguish the flames. If you are within a few feet of a safety shower or fire blanket, you can use these instead, but do not try to make it "just down the hall" if you are on fire. • If one of your coworkers catches fire and runs down the hallway in panic, tackle them and extinguish their clothing.