Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 13:03:03 -0400
Reply-To: "Erik A. Talley" <ert2002**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Erik A. Talley" <ert2002**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: Final thoughts on UCLA fatal accident.
In-Reply-To: <2AF1C47996B01E4AA1A8DE740C235363F0C47E42**At_Symbol_Here**>

NYC fire code requires a 10-lb ABC fire extinguisher be maintained within 25
feet of every lab door and within 50 feet inside the lab.

Our lab staff (PI's included) receive a "Certificate of Fitness" from FDNY
to work in the lab after taking training and passing a test. This includes
hands-on fire extinguisher training.

All of our labs are permitted by FDNY which includes inspections, at least
annually, by a FDNY inspector (a degreed engineer or chemist).

Even with that, we generally train our lab staff that the extinguishers are
used to protect property which can be replaced. We can't replace people and
want them to evacuate. Our lab safety training focuses on measures to
prevent fires from occurring and the means to notify others when fires occur
and safely egress.

We use the RACE acronym and E = Evacuate/Extinguish (emphasis on evacuate).
We don't completely rule out the use of an extinguisher, and I have examples
in the labs where extinguishers have been appropriately used.
If your fire department is removing extinguishers from the labs, are they
removing them from the entire campus? In my career, I have seen plenty of
inappropriate use of an extinguisher outside of the lab. It would seem odd
to remove them from the lab but not everywhere else.



-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of
Wawzyniecki Jr, Stefan
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 2:50 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Final thoughts on UCLA fatal accident.

Prompted by the posting below, I'd like to get views on the existence and
use of fire extinguishers in labs.  

By providing extinguishers in labs, one assumes there may be need for a
researcher to use it.  However, how many universities can document that
researchers are trained in their use?

We had a situation where a senior researcher extinguished a small fire in a
lab, but OSHA happened to investigate, and faulted the university for not
providing training.  

Also, our fire department is in the process of REMOVING extinguishers from
labs under the explanation that evacuation and pulling the alarm is the
preferred procedure.   Limited resources to perform routine extinguisher
checks in addition to training are reasons given as well.

Anyone else seeing this on their campus?

-S. Wawzyniecki, CIH, CHMM
 EH & S

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of
List Moderator
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 2:32 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Final thoughts on UCLA fatal accident.

From: "Nail, John" 
Date: August 10, 2009 2:02:11 PM EDT
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Final thoughts on UCLA fatal accident.

The one aspect of the UCLA incident that I have not seen discussed in  
these messages is that fact that the victim panicked; she ran away  
from the safety shower instead of towards it.

Everyone who has worked extensively with pyrophores knows that it  
isn't a matter if whether something bad will happen, it is a matter of  
when it will happen and how the person responds; even the most highly- 
trained, careful, etc, poisonous snake handler eventually gets bitten.

The following may sound silly, but it likely will be more useful than  
more regulations and documents, and making researchers write 'I will  
not set myself on fire' in their lab notebooks - there should be 'fire  
drills' in which the PI, a post-doc or a senior grad student has each  
person in the lab respond to various scenarios, such as a small fire  
on a lab bench (grab the extinguisher), small fire in a hood  
(extinguisher), large hood fire (evacuate), the lab worker is on fire  
(safety shower), someone else in the lab is on fire (shower or  
extinguisher or fire blanket), etc. The goal being that if someone is  
on fire, he/she reflexively runs to the shower and dowses themselves.

$0.02 worth from someone who routinely handled the nastiest of the  
pyrophores (and was on fire a couple of times).

John Nail
Professor of Chemistry
Oklahoma City University
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