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Network: Faculty and Staff Resources
 

Research lab preparations for spring weather threats

Spring 2011


 

Due to the recent severe storm and tornado activity in the Southeastern United States, our Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) has prepared a list of considerations for you and your lab. Keep in mind that utility services may be altered or totally unavailable, including water, electricity, vacuum systems, steam and natural gas. Weather systems like these can cause conditions to deteriorate rapidly. Make your preparations now.

Consider the following to prepare your lab and protect your research assets.  
 • Complete existing experiments to a termination point. Do not start any new experiments. Shut down equipment during hazardous conditions that could disrupt utilities (i.e., loss of coolant, vacuum, steam for autoclaves).
 • If you plan to complete experiments during the inclement weather event: 
   --be prepared to provide your own basic necessities 
   --be prepared to terminate experiments immediately if weather conditions deteriorate
 • Plug refrigerators and freezers into emergency power where available. Red outlets typically are connected to emergency power. Avoid opening freezers and refrigerators to maximize cooling ability.
 • Secure and protect valuable research samples, radioactive isotopes, biohazardous agents, recombinant materials and hazardous chemicals to prevent breakage and release.
 • Secure chemical, radioactive, and biological waste.
 • Fill Dewars and cryogen reservoirs for critical sample storage.
 • Securely store all select agents in double containment within approved facilities.
 • Secure all other regulated materials.
 • Confirm that arrangements have been made for the care of laboratory animals.
 • Remove equipment, chemicals, wastes and supplies from the floor in areas that may flood.
 • Breakable items or items that may become airborne in heavy winds should be moved away from outside windows.
 • Ensure all gas cylinders are secure. Cylinders not currently in use should be capped and secured.
 • Close fume hood sashes.
 • Unplug computers, printers, and all other electrical equipment (except refrigerators and freezers).
 • Cover and secure or seal vulnerable equipment with plastic.
 • Protect valuable files, research notebooks, and data to a safe secure location. Assist colleagues in securing their materials where possible.
 • Back up computer files, make more than one copy and store in several different locations.
 • Check emergency phone numbers. Update emergency notification lists on lab doors. Add temporary contact information if staying in a different location.
 • Take your personal valuables home.
 • Be sure you have your university-issued ID with you. Don’t leave it at work.
 • If there is ongoing disaster response in the area, do not attempt to enter. Check the status of university buildings at the numbers or website below.
 • Radioactive materials delivery may be suspended.

Make a note now of our university Emergency Notification Phoneline 1-877-INFO-070 (1-877-463-6070).  Also, for our Denver Campus with Auraria Campus-specific information call: 303-556-2401 . Take time to bookmark www.ucdenver.edu/alert. These numbers and locations are official sources for available information. When appropriate, we also work with local media outlets to provide updates.