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Health & Safety Manual - Fire Safety

4.4 Fire Emergency Procedures

4.4.1 – Extinguishing a person engulfed in flames:
4.4.2 - Evacuation Procedures for Uncontrollable Fires
4.4.3 - Fire-fighting Procedures for Controllable Fires
4.4.4 – Emergency Procedures for Fires Caused by Explosions

4.4.1 – Extinguishing a person engulfed in flames:

  • If a person's clothing is on fire, he/she must not be allowed to run, as this will fan the flames and cause a more serious burn. Remember!  STOP, DROP and ROLL. Clothing fires must be extinguished immediately, before anything else is done, in order to minimize skin burns.  Try not to use your hands for they will also burn
  • Roll the person on the floor if necessary.
  • Wrap him/her in a fire blanket, coat or whatever is available to smother the flames. Put the person under a shower or use an extinguisher, or whatever is available to smother the flames.
  • After calling the emergency numbers, place clean, wet, ice-packed cloths on small burned areas. Wrap the person warmly to avoid shock, and secure medical assistance.

4.4.2 - Evacuation Procedures for Uncontrollable Fires

  • Leave the area of danger. DO NOT stay to fight a large fire. Rescue anyone in immediate danger. On your way out, if it can be done safely, turn off equipment and move any explosive or flammable materials away from possible contact with hot surfaces or other sources of ignition. Using the laboratory circuit breaker or Emergency Power Off switch (EPO) is often the quickest and most effective way to turn off all laboratory electrical equipment simultaneously. For this reason, the circuit breaker or EPO must always be readily accessible. Your safe exit, however, must be given the highest priority. 
  • Transmit the fire alarm by pulling the alarm box in the hallway, notify personnel on the floor and call the Public Safety Office ((212)854-5555 at MS or (212)305-7979 at CUMC).
  • Leave by means of one of the predetermined evacuation routes for your laboratory area.  If possible, confine the fire by closing doors as you leave.  Evacuate promptly and meet outside the building away from the entrance at a pre-determined place.  Conduct an attendance/person count of workers and make sure all are accounted for.  If not, notify the Fire Department immediately.

                                   Remember! RACE
                                            Rescue
                                            Alarm
                                            Confine
                                            Evacuate/Extinguish

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4.4.3 - Fire-fighting Procedures for Controllable Fires

  • For all fires, the fire alarm must be transmitted immediately to ensure Fire Department response.
  • The decision of whether to fight the fire oneself or to wait for fire-fighting help must be made according to the type and size of the fire, its location and the circumstances of the fire. A small fire in a container may be easily snuffed out by the placement of a nonflammable cover across the container opening. A small fire in an area free of other fuels can be extinguished with appropriate available extinguishers before calling for help. When extinguishing a burning solid, direct the extinguisher discharge at the base of the flame; in the case of burning liquids, direct it at the leading edge. Larger or rapidly growing fires are best left to the Fire Department.
  • To extinguish a minor fire with an extinguisher:

                              Remember! PASS
                                        Pull Pin
                                        Aim nozzle at base of fire
                                        Squeeze handle
                                        Sweep from side to side

  • In the case of an occurrence of any fire, the fire must be reported to the Public Safety Office ((212)854-5555 at MS or (212)305-7979 at CUMC).
  • If your extinguisher needs to be replaced, call Facilities Operations at CUMC (212)305-7367 or EHS at Morningside (212)854-8749.

Remember! – If you pull the pin, call it in!

4.4.4 – Emergency Procedures for Fires Caused by Explosions

  • Immediately transmit the building alarm.
  • Alert and evacuate all personnel in the immediate area.
  • Close all doors leading to the affected area and secure area until Public Safety or other personnel arrive to evaluate the situation. Do not attempt to re-enter the space. 
  • Call Public Safety ((212)854-5555 at MS or (212)305-7979 at CUMC) and EH&S ((212)854-8749 at MS and (212)305-6780 at CUMC) for instructions. Be prepared to give the chemical name, location (building and room), and any other pertinent information.
  • Attend to any persons contaminated by chemicals by removing contaminated clothing, and when feasible, flush the affected body area with water. A University Accident Form  should be completed.
  • At CUMC refer the employee to Workforce Health and Safety located on Harkness Pavilion One South (212)305-7580 during working hours, and at all other times, to the NYPH Emergency Room. Affected students are to report to Student Health Services located on 60 Haven Avenue (telephone (212)795-4181).
  • At Morningside refer the employee to Student Health Service located at John Jay Hall during working hours, and at all other times, to the Saint Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room.
  • Have a person knowledgeable of the incident and laboratory available to provide information to emergency personnel, including the SDS .

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