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Emergency Notifications

Blizzard Warning February 9, 2017 – Laboratory Preparedness

Blizzard Warning January 26, 2015 – Laboratory Preparedness

Winter Storm - February 4, 2014 also February 5, 2014

Members of the Columbia University Research Community,

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for New York City and surrounding areas beginning at 12am midnight, Wednesday February 4, 2014. Heavy snow and wintry precipitation are expected. It is important that Principal Investigators and laboratory personnel take actions prior to departure on Tuesday afternoon to protect their research and operations and secure hazardous materials in advance of the forecast weather impacts.

It is the laboratory’s responsibility to secure their lab(s) and equipment. EH&S strongly urges laboratories to take the following steps to ensure the safety and security of their research operations:

Ensure all windows are closed.

Secure all hazardous materials (biological, chemical, radioactive and compressed gases) including waste containers. Store all chemicals in cabinets, closets, or secure areas; provide secondary containment as necessary. All containers must be closed prior to leaving the laboratory.

Shut down unattended research-related operations; emergency response capabilities in the event of a spill or leak are likely to be extremely limited due to travel impairments Verify and update, as necessary, Emergency Contact information outside of your lab and on any critical equipment. There is no guarantee that the University will be able to contact researchers in the event of critical equipment failure.

Please turn off computers, lights and other non-critical equipment that does not require emergency power when leaving Thursday, 1/2/14. Researchers with labs and experiments dependent upon electrical power should ensure equipment is plugged into the outlets that are backed up by the building generators.

Backing-up and securing critical data is strongly recommended.

Refresh dry ice and other specific backup materials (e.g. CO2 cylinders, nitrogen) as needed in sufficient quantity. If possible, top-off liquid nitrogen dewars and storage containers.

Fume hoods should be clear of chemicals and all volatile materials, due to the possibility of power outages.

Conclude all experiments planned for the weekend and DO NOT begin or run experiments as the weather may impact access to the campus.

Walk-through the lab before leaving for the weekend. Ensure all items are secured, cabinets and doors are locked, and that all other preparations have been completed.

Please discuss contingency plans with your laboratory personnel in case there are interruptions to transportation or other conditions that may impact one’s ability to keep a normal work schedule.

If you have any questions while you are preparing your lab, please contact EH&S or reach out directly to your Research Safety Specialist:

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Winter Storm - January 2, 2014

Members of the Columbia University Research Community,

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for New York City and surrounding areas beginning Thursday afternoon, January 2, 2014. It is important that Principal Investigators and laboratory personnel take actions prior to departure on Thursday afternoon to protect their research and operations and secure hazardous materials in advance of the forecast weather impacts.

It is the laboratory’s responsibility to secure their lab(s) and equipment. EH&S strongly urges laboratories to take the following steps to ensure the safety and security of their research operations:

Ensure all windows are closed.

Secure all hazardous materials (biological, chemical, radioactive and compressed gases) including waste containers. Store all chemicals in cabinets, closets, or secure areas; provide secondary containment as necessary. All containers must be closed prior to leaving the laboratory.

Shut down unattended research-related operations; emergency response capabilities in the event of a spill or leak are likely to be extremely limited due to travel impairments

Verify and update, as necessary, Emergency Contact information outside of your lab and on any critical equipment. There is no guarantee that the University will be able to contact researchers in the event of critical equipment failure.

Please turn off computers, lights and other non-critical equipment that does not require emergency power when leaving Thursday, 1/2/14. Researchers with labs and experiments dependent upon electrical power should ensure equipment is plugged into the outlets that are backed up by the building generators.

Backing-up and securing critical data is strongly recommended.

Refresh dry ice and other specific backup materials (e.g. CO2 cylinders, nitrogen) as needed in sufficient quantity. If possible, top-off liquid nitrogen dewars and storage containers.

Fume hoods should be clear of chemicals and all volatile materials, due to the possibility of power outages.

Conclude all experiments planned for the weekend and DO NOT begin or run experiments as the weather may impact access to the campus.

Walk-through the lab before leaving for the weekend. Ensure all items are secured, cabinets and doors are locked, and that all other preparations have been completed.

Please discuss contingency plans with your laboratory personnel in case there are interruptions to transportation or other conditions that may impact one’s ability to keep a normal work schedule.

If you have any questions while you are preparing your lab, please contact EH&S or reach out directly to your Research Safety Specialist:

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Hurricane Irene - October 26, 2012

Laboratories can take steps to prepare should the anticipated forecast for this weekend impact the NY metropolitan area. This list is in addition to those recommendations made on behalf of Facilities and Public Safety (please see below).

While supporting Departments (Facilities, Public Safety) will be on site through the storm, it is still your responsibility to secure your lab(s) and equipment.  EH&S strongly urges laboratories to take the following steps to ensure the safety and security of their research operations:

  • ENSURE ALL WINDOWS ARE CLOSED. 
  • PUT AWAY as many materials as possible; remove all materials from on or near windowsills. Clean benches and work surfaces, as appropriate.
  • SECURE all hazardous materials (biological, chemical, radioactive and compressed gases) including waste containers. Store all chemicals in cabinets, closets, or secure areas; provide secondary containment as necessary.  DO NOT leave chemical containers out where they may be damaged or broken by the storm’s effects.
  • VERIFY and UPDATE, as necessary, Emergency Contact information outside of your lab and on any critical equipment.
  • REFRESH DRY ICE and other specific backup materials (e.g. CO2 cylinders, nitrogen) as needed as soon as possible and in sufficient quantity to last 2-3 days.  If possible, top-off liquid nitrogen dewars and storage containers.
  • FUME HOODS should be clear of chemicals and all volatile materials, due to the possibility of power outages.
  • CONCLUDE ALL EXPERIMENTS planned for the weekend of 8/27, 28, 2011.  DO NOT begin or run experiments as access to campus may be impacted. 
  • BACKING-UP and securing critical data is always a good idea.
  • WALK-THRU the lab before leaving for the weekend.  Ensure all items are secured, cabinets and doors are locked, and that all other preparations have been completed.

If you have any questions while you are preparing your lab, please contact EH&S or reach out directly to your Research Safety Specialist

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Tremor - August 16, 2012

Principal Investigators, Laboratory Managers and Laboratory Community,

Following today’s tremor, EH&S suggests you check your laboratory and equipment rooms to verify that no items shifted and that no hazardous materials such as chemical or biological cultures/samples were displaced or damaged.  This afternoon’s event provides a reminder to ensure chemicals are segregated by similar hazard class and stored in secondary containment.  Additionally, please make certain compressed gas cylinders are stored upright and secured.

Please feel free to contact EH&S at (212)854-8749 (MS), (212)305-6780 (CUMC), or by emailing your building’s Research Safety Specialist with any questions or safety guidance. 

Thank you.

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