I agree with what Rob says but I'd like to take my original comment a little further. I still maintain that safety showers were/are intended for chemical spill response, not for putting out clothing fires - although they will work for that and might even be the preferred means to do so under some very specific circumstances. However, the victim in a personal fire situation is in no position to be evaluating the specific circumstances and conditions that might go into this decision. You do need a certain amount of hard-wired response. If the victim scurries around looking for the fire blanket (something no longer universally accepted as appropriate for its original purpose) or the safety shower, they are quite likely to suffer unnecessary damage from smoke and heat inhalation, which can be much more damaging than the skin burns, in my opinion. When lab partners, who are not in the same level of panic mode as the victim, are present then you have the potential to enhance the emergency response actions with application of a fire blanket (while the victim is in a horizontal position) or guiding them to a nearby emergency shower (if they are not still engulfed in flames). Having a clear-thinking lab partner can change the equation considerably. So how do you train your lab workers? Stop, drop, and roll, unless you can find your way to the shower while blinded and without inhaling?
I have personal knowledge of an old case similar to the UCLA incident where the victim was criticized by the PI for not using the emergency shower.. In comments made later we learned that he was so badly burned and traumatized from the explosion and fire that his only thoughts were that he didn't want to die alone in the burning lab. Even seasoned faculty just outside in the hallway were fearful of entering the lab. His only hardwired response was to leave the location where conditions were horrifying. When I was a student, one of my lab supervisors once told the class that we should anticipate having to chase the victim of a lab spill/fire as they sprint for the exit and I subsequently witness exactly that behavior in an industrial acid spill incident. He ran up a flight of stairs and several hundred yards to the nearest shower facility (the "dry") rather than use the emergency shower right at the spill location. Unfortunately, I wasn't close enough to catch him.
I don't claim to be an expert, but that's the basis for my comments.
While I generally agree with Allen, I have to say that safety showers can be *very* effective at putting out clothing fires. Where I worked years ago we had an incident involving a fairly major fire and explosion. The primary victim was pulled/guided out of the lab into the hallway and her clothing was still on fire. The safety shower was about five steps away - in this case it was the easier and more effective choice, particularly as the coworker responders did not have to try patting flames out with their hands or search for a fire blanket, lab coat etc.Obviously, it all comes down to common sense and the best approach for a given set of circumstances. You should not try to make it to a safety shower 100 feet away if you are fully engulfed in flames. General rules are good - they have a place and there is a lot to be said about training people to respond on autopilot in an emergency by reinforcing mantras. However, there is also a great deal to be said for teaching people how to recognize and select their best options in an emergency situation by thinking through possible emergency scenarios before they occur.The accident I detailed above needn't be seen as describing a set of dueling choices: roll or shower. If we had drop stopped and rolled her, the next step would have been to put her under the shower as it would not only eliminate re-ignition, but also provide soothing relief from the burns.In fact, this is exactly the sort of situation we are hoping to address in the DCHAS Lessons Learned project. There are numerous instances in which victims and/or responders have bypassed safety equipment or procedures because they were focused on a single reaction modality or thought (UCLA, and many others). Of course, any such response is (usually) better than no response or a panic one. Gotta crawl before you can walk.Rob Toreki======================================================Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand namesyou know and trust. Visit us at http://www.SafetyEmporium.comesales**At_Symbol_Here**safetyemporium.com or toll-free: (866) 326-5412Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012On Jun 6, 2012, at 2:55 PM, Allen Niemi wrote:And that is what a safety shower is for. It is not for putting out clothing fires - stop, drop, and roll for that..
Allen Niemi, PhD
Occupational Safety and Health Services
Room 322 Lakeshore Center
Michigan Technological University
Fax: 906-487-3048On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 1:58 PM, Bristol, John (JR) <JRBristol**At_Symbol_Here**dow.com> wrote:
That is what was reported after it happened. She was taken to a sink and a coworker doused her with water from there. The safety shower was used by emergency responders when they arrived, mostly for decontamination purposes.
EH&S Delivery Specialist
The Dow Chemical Company
North Andover, MA 01845
phone: 978.689.1507 | email: jrbristol**At_Symbol_Here**dow.com
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of vaiju.bagal**At_Symbol_Here**MERCKGROUP.COM
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Sheri Sangji hearing this week
It appears in the recent coverage of this event that the report by California OSHA did not address whether the lab safety shower was used. I understood that a post-doc just poured water from a bucket on her instead of taking her to the safety shower, Was that in fact true? Of course if she was on flames that may have been difficult to do.
Ujjvala (Vaiju) Bagal
Specialist, Methods Development
Phone: 01-912-964-9050 ext.53236
110 EMD Blvd
Savannah, GA 31407
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