In the event of a spill or loss of control of biological, chemical, or radioactive material, immediately contain as much of the material as possible. If there is fire or injury, dial 911 or call EVMS Police and Public Safety (446-5911) and inform them of the situation.
Once immediate steps have been taken, warn others in the area and take initial action as described below. Assistance is available from Environmental Health & Safety staff and Security.
In event of a spill containing biological hazards, follow these basic steps:
- If an aerosol is suspected, leave the room for at least 15 minutes
- Cover the spill with an absorbent (paper towel, absorbent pad, etc.)
- Spray or moisten the covered area with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) and leave in contact for at least 30 minutes
- Remove absorbent with gloved hands. Reapply bleach solution to spill area and wipe with absorbent
- Decontaminate adjacent areas with the bleach solution
- Place all waste in a biohazard bag for disposal by commercial vendor or steam sterilization
- Thoroughly wash your hands and other skin areas that may have been splashed
In event of a spill containing a chemical, follow these basic steps:
- Warn others in the area, identifying the chemical if known
- Contain the liquid or solid with absorbent pads or sheets
- Extinguish flame/ignition sources if flammable liquid, solid or gas is released
- In the event of a fire, assess the situation before using a fire extinguisher. Dry chemicals from the extinguisher may cause more damage to computer and electronic equipment than a small alcohol or solvent fire
- If the chemical has come in contact with your lab coat or clothing, remove these items immediately
- If it came in contact with skin or eyes, flush the affected area for at least 15 minutes with running water. Use the eyewash and safety shower.
- If the chemical is ingested, rinse out the oral cavity and seek medical attention
Radioactive Material Spill
In event of a spill containing radioactive material, follow these basic steps:
- Notify others in the area at once
- Confine or contain the spill immediately
- If the spill contacts the skin, flush thoroughly with water. If the spill is on clothing, discard outer clothing at once.
- Notify Police and Public Safety at 446-5911, describe the situation including what radionuclide and how much activity
- Permit no one to resume work in the area until it is decontaminated
- Place contaminated items and materials used for decontamination in waste containers
While natural disasters cannot always be predicted, there are steps you can take to prepare for an approaching storm. Use the links to help you know what to do for both your laboratory and your home in an emergency.