In case of an accident or emergency involving chemical spills, gas leaks, hazardous materials, or strong chemical odors, follow the E.S.C.A.P.E. plan.
Exit the area: If there is a chemical spill, exit the area immediately. If the spill occurred in a laboratory, you have access to the fume hood, and hazardous vapors are not present, raise the sash on the fume hood and increase the airflow before exiting.
Shut the door: Shut the door(s) to the area where the spill is located to prevent any spreading and to secure the area. Most science labs are under negative pressure, which will pull air from the hallway into the lab and keep potentially hazardous vapors from spreading into other areas.
Call 911 (or 9-911 from an on-campus phone) from a safe location and provide dispatch personnel with the following information:
- Building name
- Room number or location
- Type of incident
- Name of chemical spilled or description of odor if unsure of the chemical
- Estimate of the volume of chemical spilled
Assess the situation: Determine if the spill is immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH). IDLH incidents pose a significant and immediate threat to building occupants due to extreme toxicity, imminent explosion, or other life-threatening scenarios. The good news is that these incidents are rare. If the spill does not pose a threat to building occupants, remain outside the lab entrance until the response team arrives. If you determine the situation is IDLH, however, proceed to the next step.
Pull the fire alarm: If you determine the spill poses an immediate danger to building occupants, pull the fire alarm. Activating the fire alarm will evacuate building occupants and will notify the Columbus Fire Department.
Exit the building: Once the fire alarm is activated, exit the building. Remain at a safe distance from the main entrance. When the emergency response team arrives, provide them with the location of the spill, leak, or odor.
Remove contaminated clothing immediately. Rinse all areas of your body with copious amounts of water using a safety shower, if available.
Ensure that medical assistance is obtained for those injured or exposed. Continue to rinse body contact areas with water for at least 15 minutes unless directed otherwise by appropriate emergency medical personnel (i.e., a physician, nurse, paramedic, or emergency medical technician).