For McMaster University Department of Chemistry, there are three responses available in case of an emergency:
FIRE ALARMS; PANIC ALARMS; TELEPHONE 88
The response(s) chosen should depend upon the situation. If an alarm is known to be false, security (88) should be called.
Special Treatments and Antidotes
In Case of Shock
This is the telephone number for ALL emergency calls made on campus phones. You should only dial 911 if you have to report an emergency from a pay-phone. 88 connects to Campus Security; you should state the location and nature of the problem. . Campus security will (a) call the required emergency service, (b) send security personnel to the scene, (c) notify the Director of Risk Management, (d) send the campus "First Response" team, and (e) provide guidance for off-campus emergency vehicles. You should remain ON THE LINE to provide further details. In summoning medical help you should be as explicit as possible concerning the nature of the injury; before calling take particular note whether the eyes are involved and whether shock is evident. If the injured person is clearly ambulatory and showing no signs of shock, arrange for him/her to be received at the medical center (MUMC) as soon as possible and accompany him/her there
In the event of a fire where help is needed, you should pull the fire alarm. A loud alarm will sound. The fire alarms automatically alert security; however, they are better informed and hence can respond more efficiently if you call 88 as well. All personnel are legally required to leave the building when the alarm sounds. If you push a fire alarm, you should make yourself available to give information to security and/or emergency personnel (e.g. at the front door of ABB).
The panic alarms are large red buttons near most laboratory exit doors. You should push the panic alarm if you need help for any problems other than fire. The panic alarms activate loud buzzers at the end of the hall, and a light in the corridor flashes to show the location. In the event of a panic alarm, you should proceed to the site with caution to see if assistance is required. Panic alarms also notify security; however, they are better informed and hence can respond more efficiently if you call 88 as well. If you push a panic alarm, you should make yourself available to give information to security personnel.
The first priority in the event of an accident is to get all persons, injured and uninjured, out of the dangerous environment. The second is to provide any emergency action needed to minimize injuries (washing of eyes or skin, antidotes in certain cases). Third is to summon medical help if needed.
A modern-day chemical laboratory is seldom (and should never be) more than a very few minutes away from competent medical aid. However, a number of first-aid measures should be undertaken on site if necessary. These measures include
1. thoroughly washing the skin with cool water to remove reactive or caustic substances
2. measures described elsewhere to deal with caustic substances in the
eyes or if ingested
3. immediate precautions to minimize effects of shock (electrical or other)
4. artificial respiration when breathing has stopped
5. prompt staunching of any serious flow of blood by use of a pressure compress (not a tourniquet)
You should leave mechanical eye injuries to be dealt with by an eye doctor (restrain the patient if necessary from aggravating the injuries by blinking). Likewise leave to the doctor the treatment of serious burns of all kinds and (in general) the administration of antidotes in cases of poisoning.
It is the responsibility of each lab worker and research supervisor to ensure that the necessary antidotes and treatments are available in the laboratory for especially toxic or corrosive substances, e.g., cyanide, HF, HBF4, fluorosulfuric acid. It is extremely important that all users of these substances know the first aid procedures and have the proper treatment immediately available. See Appendix 5 for a list of common first‑aid treatments.
Shock is always a dangerous possibility in cases of severe injury or trauma, and may result quite unexpectedly in sudden heart stoppage and death. A person in shock has a weak pulse and low blood pressure, his/her face and extremities will be pale and cold, he/she may be nauseated and may vomit, he/she may be light‑headed, or feel faint, his/her breathing may be shallow and rapid and perhaps irregular. In the case of irregular breathing or unconsciousness, there may be a serious danger to life. Keep the victim warm, quiet, and lying flat. Loosen any tight clothing at neck and waist. Give the victim nothing by mouth, but the lips may be moistened. Especially important:
(I) never give stimulants of any kind when shock is present or a possibility, and
(2) never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
After everything possible has been done to remove personnel from danger and needed care has been given to any injured persons, attention can be directed to minimizing other destructive effects of the accident. In any but the most minor of fires or other accidents, and in all cases where there is injury to personnel, emergency aid should be called by dialing McMaster 88. The Risk Management Office (ext. 24653) should also be called and should supervise the decontamination of the area in the event of the presence of toxic, flammable, or caustic chemicals in the environment. The Health Physics Office (ext. 23365) should be called in the event of any known or suspected
X‑ray or radiochemical exposure.
All accidents, medical problems associated with work, and incidents which might have caused injury, should be reported on the McMaster University "Safety/Incident Report" form. The forms may be obtained from the main Chemistry office and completed forms should be returned there for distribution. The Safety Committee is attempting to develop a database of incidents with a view to ward prevention of similar occurrences.