From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] looking for fire safety examples for training class
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2013 18:07:38 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 47239127-3DB5-45C3-AC1E-ECEB4D21975F**At_Symbol_Here**


I have a lot of great anecdotes about bad responses, too:

As an undergrad I watched a classmate's distillation bump, sending her reaction mixture into the receiving flask.  So she popped the receiving flask off and tried to pour the (flammable) mixture back into the distillation pot by popping off the distillation head.  The liquid, of course, ran all over the outside of the apparatus and into the flame.   Obviously, Bunsen burners have no place in synthetic experiments these days and open flames are probably only justified for sterilization (and that's debatable) and glassblowing.

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012

On Aug 9, 2013, at 2:13 PM, Kim Gates <kim.gates**At_Symbol_Here**STONYBROOK.EDU> wrote:

I'm looking for examples of fire safety/response in labs for my Fall Semester new Grad Student training. I'd like to include a few fire safety responses that people who've been working in labs for many years know, but a new student wouldn't know unless they were told.. I'm hoping DCHAS members can help!

We have had a few small, incidental fires in labs over the past few years. Many times its a new lab worker who isn't familiar with lab techniques involving bunsen burners. Example - a small beaker of ethanol caught on fire & the lab worker panicked and tossed the beaker across the bench into the sink. A better response would be to cover the beaker with fire resistant glass/metal and let the flame extinguish. Another example is a single paper towel caught on fire from the bunsen burner and the student panicked and tossed it into the trash. A better response would be to drop it to the floor and step on it or toss it into the sink (which was next to this example) if nearby and pour water on it. 

The main thing to pass on to the students is that if they are working with something (e.g., bunsen burner open flames) that has the potential to catch on fire, they need to be prepared, stay calm, and react safely. 

They also need to know that if the fire is larger than these incidental fire examples, to exit the lab and pull the fire alarm.

If you have other examples, please pass them along - I'm planning on adding a slide to the lab safety training for this.

I will compile the list & repost to share.

Thanks for all your help! 

Kim Gates
Laboratory Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6200
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site:

Please note my name and email have changed.

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.