Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 17:07:33 -0500
Reply-To: "Richard W. York" <ryork**At_Symbol_Here**WITTENBERG.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Richard W. York" <ryork**At_Symbol_Here**WITTENBERG.EDU>
Subject: Re: Fire extinguishers in research and teaching labs
In-Reply-To: <1C53F6D1-1C00-4F9C-A034-02CE882E1829**At_Symbol_Here**>
Nearly thirty years ago, when we decided to package some safety topics into general chemistry prelab meetings, we were inspired by an article in Journal of Chemical Education by Antony Wilbraham (J Chem Ed Vol 55, No. 11 (Nov 1978),  pp.A405-6) to include a fire fighting experience.  Our fire extinguisher contractor brings in extra CO2 extinguishers and each student puts out an ethanol fire in a bucket.  We have been doing this exercise ever since. By training general chemistry classes, all of our upper class students have had the experience before they get into organic chemistry lab or research.

The local fire department is glad to meet our labs and they bring a film and discuss fire safety before the hands-on extinguishing.  They definitely stress life safety over property safety. Our extinguisher contractor sometimes bills us, but sometimes includes it in their total service contract.  

I was personally glad to have had the training, because within a year after we started the training I faced two fires in vehicles in my neighborhood.  One of them was out before the fire department arrived; the other needed their bigger "firepower". 

Richard York
Coordinator of Chemistry Labs
Wittenberg University
Springfield, Ohio 45501

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of List Moderator
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 9:14 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Fire extinguishers in research and teaching labs

This is an e-mail from another list that I am on that I thought would  
be of interest to DCHAS-L...

- Ralph

From: 	swihart**At_Symbol_Here**PURDUE.EDU
Subject: 	[SAFETY] anybody here from Murfreesboro?
Date: 	November 24, 2008 9:06:21 AM EST (CA)

Our Chemistry Department received a "survey" from a person in the  
Chemistry Department at Middle Tennessee State University.   The Dept  
Head asked me to respond to the survey.

At MTSU some of the Chem faculty and graduate students are apparently  
very upset that the university administration has forbidden them to  
use fire extinguishers in their research and teaching labs.

The survey sender wrote "The reason given is that the university  
cannot bear the enormous expense required to train a group of  
experienced graduate faculty and research scientists in the  
complicated procedures involved in using a fire extinguisher."

That made me sigh a sad sigh, those of you in universities know why,  
but anyway, if there's anyone in this list that is at MTSU, I would  
enjoy corresponding with you about how I might be able to

1 -- find the appropriate address to copy my reply to this "survey" to  
someone in the MTSU administration, and
2 -- get tips on how to persuade *my* university administration to  
consider such a plan.



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