Accidents and Emergencies


For medical emergency and/or police, dial 4-2500. For fire, pull nearest alarm and call the campus police at 4-2500. Dialing 911 will circumvent the university police, but ambulance response will be slower. In the case of clear emergency, instruct the campus police to call the ambulance immediately, rather than waiting for an officer to arrive and assess the situation. Provide adequate information on the phone: name, telephone number, building, floor, room number, condition of any injured individuals (e.g., unconscious, burned, trapped), type of fire, if any. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in danger of further injury.

If there is a fire, use proper extinguishers-cut off electrical circuits, gas lines. Close doors. If clothing is on fire, help the individual to the floor and roll him or her around to smother the flames, or if a safety shower is immediately available, douse the person with water. Running to a not immediately accessible safety shower or other source of water will only serve to fan the flames and intensify the clothing fire. Fire blankets are intended primarily as a first-aid measure for prevention of shock rather than against smoldering or burning clothes. By wrapping a person who is on fire, heat is retained and the clothing may continue to smolder, resulting in serious burns. In addition, if the person who is wrapped in the safety blanket is standing, a chimney effect may occur-smoke from the smoldering clothing would continue to rise past the person's face.

If chemicals have been spilled over large area of the body, quickly remove all contaminated clothing while using the safety shower. Immediately flood the exposed areas with cold water for a least 15 minutes; resume if pain returns. Wash off chemicals by using a mild detergent or soap (preferred) and water; do not use neutralizing chemicals or salves.

If chemicals have been spilled on a confined area of the skin immediately flush with cold water and wash by using mild detergent or soap (preferred) a water. Remove any jewelry in the affected area. If a delayed action the chemical is possible (e.g., methyl and ethyl bromides), obtain medical attention promptly.

If a chemical has been splashed into the eyes, immediately wash the eye and inner surface of the eyelid with copious amounts of water for 15 minutes. The eye must be held open. Check for and remove any contact lenses at once (contact lenses should not be used in the laboratory). An eyewash fountain should be used if available.

In case of ingestion of a toxin, dilute the poison by having the victim drink large amounts of water (do not give liquids to an unconscious or convulsing victim). Attempt to learn what the ingested substances were. Save the label or container for transportation with the victim to the medical facility.

Water fire extinguishers are effective against burning paper and trash. They should not be used on electrical, liquid or metal fires. Carbon dioxide extinguishers are effective against burning liquids such as hydrocarbons, and electrical fires. They are recommended for fires involving delicate instruments and optical systems because they do not damage such equipment. They are less effective against paper, trash or metal fires and should not be used against lithium aluminum hydride fires. Dry powder extinguishers are also effective against liquid and electrical fires. They are less effective against paper/trash and metal fires. Met-L-X extinguishers and others that have special granular formulations are effective against burning metal. Included in this category are fires involving magnesium, lithium, sodium, and potassium; alloys of reactive metals; and metal hydrides, metal alkyls, and other organo-metallics. These extinguishers are less effective for the other types of fires.

Any student with working status is protected under the Workers' Compensation plan. Benefits are paid to cover injuries resulting from work, whether the injury occurred on or away from the employee's normal work site. Regardless of the nature or severity, all injuries incurred must be reported immediately to your supervisor and to MSE's Facilities Manager, John Holthaus in room 181, Love Building. Procedures and information on this policy is posted in all labs.