Maybe yes, it may be overkill, to some of us- but I will support their decision to evacuate. There are lot of specifics we don’t know about what happened and the situation.
- Yes- it may be their policy
- A teacher’s responsibility is to the safety of the students not the facility. Even if the teacher could clean it up, she/he may wanted the kids out of the room to give them room to work. While in the hall, someone may have said we had a “chemical spill” and shot video and that got to someone else, who may have panicked and called it into Haz Mat or may even have pulled the fire alarm.
- Not all teachers are haz mat responders. Their policy may be to call the trained responders.
- May sound odd and not what we hope from our kid’s teachers, but the teacher may not be a trained “chemist”. She/he may have some undergrad classwork in chemistry only. Many science teachers get stuck teaching something that is not their forte or focus during their undergrad education. Many school districts will stick a teacher who has a “high school science” certification in any science opening if they can’t find an exact fit. This teacher may have done her/his undergrad in Physics and is now a Chemistry teacher using the normal recipe/curriculum books to teach.
- To many, any spill means vapors- hazardous or not. If the school does not have one-pass air in their labs, they may have evac’d just to be safe and let the building vent, whether it needed it or not.
- Aqueous and innocuous or not they may not be able to handle it. Who would watch the kids? Where would they go if they needed just to clear the room while they mopped? High schools are different than our campuses where we have a lot more training and expertise…and usually an on-site response team and in the university setting, we can turn a class loose for the class period.
- Calling Haz Mat would disrupt the classroom, hallway, etc., so the easiest way for the school to handle 100/1000 kids is to get them out of the school while the clean-up is done. In all honesty- unless the weather sucked- I doubt anyone complained.
- Even if the teacher and science curriculum staff could handle the spill, what would the non-science parents scream? “You had my kid in the building when there was a chemical spill?”
- For liability- the school district may have been doing a CYA and evacuated. There is credence to “better to be safe than sorry” for many reasons: possible chemical exposures, the negative PR…
Coordinator for Clinical and Laboratory Safety Programs
Environmental Health and Safety
University of Florida
POB 112190 Bldg 179 Newell Dr.
Gainesville, Fl 32611-2190
“Just because you are in compliance doesn’t mean you are out of danger.” Mike Rowe “Deadliest Catch”
HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE WING CLEARED AFTER CHEMISTRY LAB SPILL
Tags: us_NJ, laboratory, release, response, other_chemical
A student accidentally dropped a beaker of chemicals in a chemistry lab classroom at Manchester High School on Monday afternoon, resulting in the clearing of the science wing while hazmat crews cleaned up the spill, police said.
School administrators called police about 1:20 p.m. to report the spill, which occurred when the student dropped the 500-milliliter beaker on the floor and it shattered, Capt. Todd Malland of the Manchester Police Department said.
The beaker contained manganese (11) sulfate solution, silver nitrate solution 0.2l, lead nitrate solution, nickel sulfate, and cobalt chloride aqueous solution, 2.5 percent, school officials told police.
Police evacuated the science wing while members of the Berkeley Township HazMat Response Team decontaminated the scene, Malland said.
The teacher and five students who were in the room at the time did not report any injuries at the time of the spill, he said..
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