Biological Sciences

Emergency Action and Fire Prevention Plan

The University Safety Manual gives an overview of Building Evacuations, Building Fires, Medical Emergencies, Chemical Spills, and Building Fire Safety.

Note that all laboratories must have an official University door posting that lists specific hazards, lab contact information and SDS location.

See the Emergency Response Poster.

2.1 Department Specific Emergency Action and Fire Plan Information

For all campus emergencies requiring police, fire or medical response call 911 from campus phones or cell phones.

2.1.1 DOW, MEEM, and GLRC Buildings

The Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering (Dow), R. L. Smith Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics (MEEM) and Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) buildings have multiple floors and multiple exits, so no one response plan is appropriate for all scenarios. Therefore you should review the University Emergency Guide on the general response to fires, building evacuations, and circumstances under which it might be best to shelter in place. As a general rule, when you arrive at a new location take a few moments to familiarize yourself with:

  • the layout of the floor
  • the location of the building exits (There should be two but you may have to travel to find the second one; find it before there is an emergency.)
  • how to exit the room you are working in, and
  • the location of emergency equipment (fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, safety eyewashes and showers, natural gas emergency shutoffs, electrical disconnect boxes, and so on).

Remember that during an emergency evacuation involving a fire or power outage the elevator will not be working. If you have reduced mobility or difficulty walking up and down stairs, discuss in advance with your supervisor an evacuation and/or shelter in place response.

During a power outage, or when the general building alarm sounds in the Dow Building, natural gas will be turned off automatically cut off at the service entrance. Once power has been restored or the general alarm is over, the service must be manually reset. It is very important that all items connected to natural gas, such as Bunsen burners, are manually turned off during the above conditions. Furthermore, if natural gas odor is noticed following one of the above events, report it immediately by dialing 911.

During a lab emergency in the Dow Building or Great Lakes Research Center, the natural gas can be turned off in any specific room via the emergency gas shut off near the room door (Dow) or hallway (GLRC).

During a power outage in any campus building, all building, room and fume hood ventilation will be inoperable. Although building generators will quickly power up emergency lighting circuits in the Dow, GLRC and MEEM, these circuits do not support general or fume hood ventilation. Under normal circumstances, the Central Heating Plant’s backup generators will power up within one to two minutes providing normal power to all buildings on campus. However, please note that it may take up 60 minutes for the building, room and fume hood ventilation to reset. Please do not use fume hoods or use chemicals on an open bench during this time period. do not use a fume hood, under any circumstances if it is displaying a visual or audible alarm even if it has been 60 minutes since the power outage.

Specific equipment safeguards and operating procedures must be established as appropriate in the process SOP to ensure building and occupant safety during power outages. This is especially critical for unattended operations. In general, volatile chemicals in open containers should be covered or moved inside a fume hood and the sash closed until full ventilation has been restored (a small updraft will typically continue inside the fume hood due to stack effect). Turn off or unplug all heating sources until the power has been restored and you are prepared to resume operations.

When setting up an experiment, you should have a plan in case of sudden or unexpected interruption of services including:

  • power
  • water
  • room ventilation
  • fume hood ventilation
  • biological safety cabinet operation
  • phone service
  • compressed air, natural gas, or room temperature control.

All unattended experimental apparatuses must have emergency shutdown procedures and emergency contact numbers posted next to it or on the lab door.

2.1.2 Michigan Bureau of Fire Services Rules for Universities

The Michigan Bureau of Fire Services has adopted new rules for colleges and universities effective 2015.

Public Safety and Police Services Emergency Guide

  1. Only residence halls are required to hold fire and tornado drills.
  2. In lieu of fire drills in other university buildings all faculty and instructional staff are required to do the following on the first day of class:
    1. Explain the university fire evacuation procedures to the class (see below).
    2. Explain the locations of the primary and secondary exit routes for your class location.
    3. Explain your designated safe location where the class will meet after evacuating the building.
  3. You are responsible for directing your class during a building evacuation.

General evacuation procedure:

  • Use the nearest safe exit route to exit the building. Close all doors on the way out to prevent the spread of smoke and fire.
  • After exiting, immediately proceed to a safe location at least 100 feet from the building.
  • Do not re-enter the building until the all-clear is given by Public Safety or the fire department.

2.2 Non-Emergency, But Urgent Facility Issues

For urgent (but non-emergency, such as when calling 9-1-1 is not appropriate) problems such as room power outages, burst pipes, and so on contact Facilities at: 906-487-0001.

For non-urgent or routine facility needs, see Michigan Tech Facilities Management or contact the departmental office.

2.3 Departmental Standard Operating Procedure for Emergency Spill Management

If the spill is large (possibly leading to immediate danger to life or health), follow Michigan Tech’s Campus Safety Manual procedures:

  1. Evacuate room, hallway, floor, or building as appropriate.
  2. Dial 911 and instruct the operator to inform Public Safety and Police Services of the situation.
  3. Wait for further instructions.
  4. Be prepared to provide the SDS for the chemicals spilled.

If the spill is small, (that is, it can safely be cleaned without Immediate Danger to Life and Health):

  1. Evacuate the room. Be sure the room is secured, preferably with a person as a sentry, while obtaining SDS information and while the spill clean up is performed.
  2. Consult SDS for clean up information and appropriate choice of personal protective equipment.
  3. The spill absorbent for most acids (not hydrofluoric), bases, organic compounds, oils and aqueous liquids is next to the eyewash/safety showers in all labs.
  4. Specialized absorbents for concentrated acids, corrosives and organic compounds are available in:
    1. Dow 516 (autoclave/prep room)
    2. Dow 704 (aquatic culture space)
    3. MEEM 1102 (general prep room)
    4. GLRC 109, 215 and 314
  5. Small spill mercury cleanup kits are available in
    1. Dow 219, 516 and 704, 707, 710 and 711
    2. MEEM 1102 and 1104
  6. Specialized absorbents for formaldehyde spills are available in
    1. Dow 704 and 707
  7. Inform your supervisor, department chair or the department’s Chemical Hygiene Officer.
  8. Contact the Departmental Lab Supervisor or EHS for disposal information of spill absorbents.

Chapter 3