Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 00:29:58 -0600
Reply-To: "Harry J. Elston" <helston**At_Symbol_Here**FGI.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Harry J. Elston" <helston**At_Symbol_Here**FGI.NET>
Subject: Re: Aftermath of a fire
Comments: To: Yung Morgan
I was always told that when you go to build a house, talk to the folks that have already done it.  

A quick check of "fires" on the Safety Listserv will show two recent ones and I suggest you ask those folks directly.  In the last few years, those fires would have been University of California (Irvine, I believe) and University of Vermont.  I would find the EH&S folks and talk with them directly on what went right and what went wrong and learn from them.

Remember, it is always better to learn from a horrible example than to be one.  The UCI fire was very extensive and the after-fire clean up huge.  Univ. Vermont's fire was smaller, but there are still lessons to be learned from there as well.

Good luck.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Yung Morgan 
>Sent: Dec 14, 2007 3:51 PM
>To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
>Subject: [DCHAS-L] Aftermath of a fire
>Dear members,
>I like to ask any idea from the group about what to do in the aftermath of a
>fire. Do you have a certain set of protocols you make all personnel go
>through before the lab or space can be cleared for reoccupation?  Do you ask
>for a thorough clean up by the department? How about air and surface
> Recently one of our biology labs had a fire from an oven which overheated
>to 500 F with some plastic which was left in with the glassware. The fire
>which resulted blew out black soot throughout the lab and into adjoining
>bathrooms though the vent system. Our group responded with the local fire
>department who put out the fire and went in to investigate the fire without
>any respiration protection. The researcher and her group were in the lab
>cleaning out all the sooty glassware with only dust masks given to them by
>the custodial staff who refused to go in. They were not too happy when we
>made them clear the lab for a few days whereby a contractor was brought in
>at the PI expense to hepa-vacuum the area( including the adjoining
>bathrooms).Another consultant  was also brought in for wipe samples and air
>samples for VOCs and particulates. We let the group occupy the lab as soon
>as surface samples were taken as they can open the windows but not the small
>interior office where all graduate students congregated. The lab was then
>cleared for reoccupying after I have a verbal confirmation from the lab that
>all samples have below detection level. It took about a week for the lab to
>be reoccupied. 
>My questions: 
>1.	Is this overkill? 
>2.	What do other institutions do in the aftermath of fires? Spills of
>hazardous materials? 
>3.	How about your fire response group? do they have a procedure to
>reenter the area with respiration protection?  
>Any thoughts or comments you all may have would be helpful to rewrite our
>fire and spills responses procedures. Thanks in advance. 
>Have a fantastic (and safe) Holiday season! 
>Yung Morgan, MsPH
>Chemical Safety
>Industrial Hygiene Services
>Environmental Health and Safety
>117 Draper hall
>UMASS,Amherst MA 01003
>phone (413)  545-2682
>Fax  (413) 545-2600
>email : pmorgan**At_Symbol_Here**

Harry J. Elston, Ph.D., CIH
Midwest Chemical Safety, LLC

Editor, Chemical Health & Safety

"I'm your wife.  I'm the greatest good 
you're ever gonna get"
           -Mrs. "Frozone", The Incredibles

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