The University of Texas-Pan American
 
Environmental Health and Safety
October 25, 2014

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Hurricane Preparedness/Response Plan
Laboratory Advisory

We are currently under a hurricane watch: make necessary preparations to suspend ongoing experiments involving biological cultures, radioactive agents and hazardous chemicals.

    When a hurricane warning is issued, implement activities to suspend operations in the laboratory. Plan to shut operations down within three hours of initial hurricane warning. Remember, donít count on the availability of power, water or climate control.
  1. Always keep chemical/radioactive materials in your inventory to a minimum. Reorganize and dispose of old materials routinely to keep chemicals from becoming outdated.
  2. Due to the possibility of power outages, volatile, toxic and materials displaying respiratory hazards should not be stored in fume hoods or refrigerators but in tightly sealed, impervious and break-resistant containers.
  3. Do not accumulate more than four gallons of waste chemicals/radioactive materials in your lab at any one time. Environmental Health and Safety has weekly scheduled pickups for waste chemicals.
  4. Laboratories with outside windows should develop a secure area for the storage of water reactive chemicals, radioactive materials and biological agents. These secure areas should be waterproof and heavy enough to not be affected by the wind.
  5. Hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials and biological agents should not be stored below ground level during a hurricane. Find a secure area above the second floor levels to secure these materials in case of flooding.
  6. Check emergency phone numbers. Update lab personnel phone, pager, and cellular phone numbers and post these outside your lab.
  7. Use plastic waterproof containers on hand to store reactive chemicals, lab notes, research documentation, computer disks, and any other materials that you cannot afford to have damaged.
  8. Secure computers and other laboratory equipment.
  9. Back up key data and store off site.
  10. Remove all items from window ledges.
  11. Protect books, valuable papers and equipment by covering with plastic sheeting secured with duct tape.
  12. Disconnect all electrical equipment. Refrigerators and freezers should be left ON at the coldest setting and covered with a blanket or other insulating material, if available.
  13. Clean all laboratory benches as completely as practical.
  14. Store chemicals and biological agents in isolated and windowless rooms. If an isolated windowless room is not available, store chemicals in cabinets or closets that can be locked or secured. Use care when handling and storing chemicals to avoid an accidental release. Chemicals should be segregated based on their compatibility.
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