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Earthquake Response

Drop, Cover, and Hold! Take shelter under a workbench or other protective cover until the earth movement stops.

Afterwards, if safe to do so, shut down any procedures which may be underway and cap any open containers. Aid injured if you are able. Determine if you need to evacuate the work area. When evacuating, take keys, emergency kits, etc. because you may not be allowed to re-enter until the building has been assessed for hazards. Try to note the extent of building damage while evacuating. Assemble at the Emergency Assembly Point. Await further instructions. Do not re-enter the building until after it has been assessed for structural damage by trained users and re-entry is authorized by University officials.


Natural Gas Leaks

  • Natural gas leaks can cause explosions due to the explosive nature. Natural gas contains an odorant that is easily detected by smell. If a weak odor is smelled inside a building:
  • Check laboratory gas outlets for open valves.
  • Call 9988 and 7444 LS/LSS to have the location of the gas leak identified.
  • For strong, widespread (in many rooms), and/or quickly worsening odor:
  • Pull the emergency alarm.
  • Close the emergency gas valve for your floor or area if one exists.
  • Evacuate the building immediately, following your building evacuation plan.
  • If your assembly area is downwind of the building, move to second assembly area.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by the on-scene authority (fire department, police department or other users).
  • Submit an accident report on LS/LSS.

Leaking Gas Cylinders

Do not overtighten the valve in an attempt to stop the leak. If the valve continues to leak, consider whether room evacuation and building evacuation is necessary. Take the following actions:

Flammable, Oxidizing or Inert Gases: If necessary, PPE must be equipped. If possible, allow the cylinder to exhaust into a well ventilated area (such as a fume hood) with few or no combustible absorbent materials in the area (such as cardboard). Post a sign warning of the leaking cylinder. Avoid sparks and open flames.

Toxic or Corrosive Gases: If necessary, PPE must be equipped. Exhaust cylinder into an absorbent or neutralizer if possible. If no absorbent or neutralizing system is available, exhaust the cylinder into an operating fume hood. Post a sign warning of the leaking cylinder.

Unknown Odors

Check with users to determine if they are doing something to produce an odor. If not, check adjacent labs to determine if the odor is widespread or if the source is obvious. Try to relate the odor to possible causes – such as whether it smells like a sewer, or rotting food, or over-heating electronics, or a distinct chemical. If the source is obvious, take action if possible to eliminate the cause or control the odor, such as taking a chemical reaction off the benchtop and putting it into a working fume hood.

If the odor isn’t immediately found but appears to be appreciably stronger in one location, there is likely a source nearby, which can be a dried sink drain or floor drain (if a sewer-like or chemical-like odor), a chemical process gone wrong (if a rotting or unknown chemical odor), over-heating electronics (if devices are over-heating), or a chemical spill or a leaking process (if a distinct chemical). There are an unlimited number of potential sources, but familiarity with the lab’s activities should help narrow the possibilities.