Emergency Response Plan
Emergency Response Procedures for Biosafety Laboratories
Laboratory emergencies can include: fires, explosions (with or without an accompanying
fire), medical emergencies, and a spill or a release of hazardous/infectious substances.
When emergencies occur, it is critical that laboratory personnel react quickly to
any situation by securing work areas, closing all doors, reporting the emergency immediately
to 911 and providing situation information for emergency responders.
To assist emergency responders, laboratory personnel must provide them with an indication
of how serious the event is. Basically, the responders need to know what occurred
and how severe the event is.
Every emergency reported by laboratory personnel should include a description of the
event, the laboratory level, and one of the following laboratory situation codes:
The emergency involves no risk for emergency responders to laboratory chemicals or
hazardous agents. The laboratory situation is normal.
The emergency involves a situation inside a laboratory area that involves a health
or safety risk to emergency responders. However, the emergency is contained inside
the laboratory area and does not present a hazard outside the laboratory containment
area. Containment measures are operating normally.
The emergency is a health or safety risk to emergency responders and everyone in the
building because the material is not contained by the building systems. Uncontrolled
fires are a Code Red emergency in any event.
Following are examples of how incidents should be reported
Reporting party: "This is Jane Doe at B52 Boomer Hall. We have a person here with chest pains and
we need an ambulance. This is a BSL-2 lab. This is a Code Green emergency.”
Reporting party: "This is John Doe at 747 Hanger Hall. We have had a small flask of an infectious
agent shatter and cut one of our laboratory researchers. We have the bleeding stopped,
but the researcher is still in the lab because of the spilled material. The agent
is contained in the BSL-3 lab. Everyone else is out of the area. This is a Code Yellow
Reporting party: "This is Orville Wright at 1903 Flyer Hall. We have a fire in a Biological Safety
Cabinet (BSC). Everyone has evacuated the room, but the fire is out of control. This
is a Code Red emergency."
When confronted with fire or other laboratory emergencies, laboratory personnel should
follow the R.A.C.E. model:
- Rescue those in immediate danger, without becoming a victim.
- Alarm, activate the nearest pull station or call 911.
- Contain the fire or incident by closing doors.
- Extinguish the fire if you are trained and it is a small fire. Otherwise, evacuate
the fire area.
Upon notification of a possible fire or other emergency in the building laboratory
personnel will, if possible:
- Immediately cease laboratory procedures and secure your work area and in all areas
of the building.
- All containers of infectious materials should be removed from Biosafety cabinets and
placed into autoclaves, incubators, refrigerators, orfreezers as quickly as possible.
Biosafety cabinets should remain on if they were operating at the time of the emergency.
- Turn off all gas burners
- Laboratory containment ventilation systems should be left on.
- Leave the building as quickly as possible and assemble as a group in a safe area outside
the building and stay together. DO NOT REENTER THE BUILDING FOR ANY REASON. Anyone
missing should be noted and reported to the fire department incident commander immediately.
Laboratory personnel evacuated from the building in an emergency who may be contaminated
with a chemical, infectious agent or radioactive material due to an exposure or release
- Prevent others from becoming exposed or contaminated.
- Take self protective measures by removing contaminated clothing if possible.
- Wait for emergency decontamination by the fire department.
- Under no circumstances should emergency response personnel be exposed or contaminated
without their knowledge.
Fire department personnel will not enter the building until there is some reliable
information regarding the situation inside the building and the risk to fire personnel.
Principle Investigators or laboratory personnel having specific information on the
situation inside the building (what occurred, what material is involved, where the
situation is, when the incident occurred, and etc.) or missing people should report
the information to the fire department incident commander at the command post. Any
fire or police officer will be able to provide the location of the command post.