Chemical or Radiation Emergencies
A release is defined as any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment, or any release which results in the exposure to persons within a workplace, or if any release escapes down the floor or sink drain or into the hall and is no longer confined to the laboratory.
If you discover a chemical spill or release from a container, tank or operating equipment:
Immediately notify the Facilities Department at 610.902.8242 (or 8242 for campus phones) and the Department of Public Safety at 610.902.8111 (or 8111 for campus phones).
When reporting, be specific about the nature of the involved material and exact location (building name, room number).
If the substance is not immediately identifiable, do not take the time to identify it. The notifications to emergency personnel should be your first action.
- If the spill/release is minimal, do not pull the fire alarm unless there is a fire.
- Attempt to stop the release at its source, but assure that no danger to human health exists first.
Simple procedures (turning valves, plugging leaks, etc.) may be attempted if there are no health or safety hazards and there is a reasonable certainty of the origin of the leak.
- Do not attempt to clean up the spill.
- If there is an immediate threat to human life (e.g., a fire in progress or fumes are overcoming anyone), pull the fire alarm.
Request the assistance of the fire department’s hazardous materials response team if an uncontrollable spill has occurred and/or if the spill has migrated beyond the site boundaries.
The key person on site should vacate the affected area at once and seal it off by closing the doors to prevent further contamination of other areas until the arrival of fire department personnel. Then remove yourself and others from the area.
Evacuate the building if first responders issue an evacuation order, and walk quickly to the nearest marked exit while alerting others to do the same.
- Do not use elevators in case of fire! Do not panic or cause others to panic.
- After an evacuation, when outside, report to your designated assembly point.
Stay there until an accurate headcount has been taken. Your department head, manager, supervisor, or person in charge of each office/area will take attendance and assist in the accounting of all building occupants.
If anyone has contact with the hazardous material, they should be isolated and await treatment by emergency personnel. Do not leave the site until you are cleared by emergencyresponders.
- Provide first responders with information about the spill, chemical, and the spill area.
Do not re-enter an evacuated building unless told to do so by the Incident Commander or a University official, or only after an “All Clear” is announced by first responders or issued via the University’s Emergency Notification System.