Hazardous Material Incident
- Chemical spills inside of a facility are addressed by “Chemical Spill Response Policy and Procedures”:
- Minor spills are those that pose no threat to those outside the immediate area and can be safely cleaned by the individual who caused the spill.
- Major spills are those that pose an immediate danger to health, safety or the environment, is unknown, or is an immediate fire hazard. In those situations, notification of EH&S via the University Police is required. If beyond EH&S capability to respond, the New Orleans Fire Departments Hazardous Materials Unit and/or an environmental cleanup contractor will be called on to respond. The response could include partial or full evacuation of the facility.
- Hazardous material accidents in the local community (e.g., train derailments or tractor trailer accidents that release hazardous chemicals) can potentially result in impacts to one or more of our campuses.
- If the incident presents a hazard, Shelter in Place and Evacuation are options as a response.
- Should Shelter in Place be used, to the maximum extent possible, Facility Services will turn off ventilation systems to minimize the intake of outside air, and University Police will man exit doors.
The strategy of Shelter in Place requires that all personnel stay inside buildings to avoid contact with potentially hazardous fumes until the threat has passed. The following actions will be taken:
- Toxic vapors are typically heavier than air; therefore move off the ground floor to a higher floor.
- To minimize the intake of outside air, Facility Services will turn off heating/cooling systems to the maximum extent possible.
- Terminate experiments and turn off fume hoods, then lower and shut sashes.
- Extinguish any open flames such as Bunsen burners and gas stoves.
- Do not use elevators as they can act as pistons pulling air from the outside.
- Where possible, University Police shall secure the main entry doors to facilities.
- Any occupant who encounters a visitor or a person who is physically disabled should assist those individuals.
If evacuation is determined to be the optimal response, direction will be given via the Text Alert System or via activation of the building’s fire alarm. Emergency Response Floor Leaders should sweep their areas of responsibility to ensure all are evacuated. Actions during an evacuation may include:
- Walking to an assembly area or the building’s Emergency Evacuation Area to be evacuated by public transportation
- Walk or drive away from the area using travel direction determined by community officials.
- Calling University Police to assist with mobility impaired personnel if required.
- Any occupant who comes into contact with a visitor who is physically disabled should assist those individuals.