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Laboratory Safety Programs

Emergency Action Plan

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It may be necessary to include plans for both man-made disasters (e.g., chemical spills, fires, terrorist acts) and natural/weather emergencies. It is imperative to work in conjunction with local law enforcement, emergency services, and/or homeland security bureau to coordinate and implement emergency plans properly.

The emergency action plan should include not only situation and evacuation procedures, but also training on how to act on the procedures. The amount and extent of training depends upon the nature of the emergency. The laboratory should conduct periodic emergency drills in order to practice evacuation procedures, such as an annual fire drill. These may be coordinated with the emergency services and law enforcement in the area. As always, the training should be documented and retained. More extensive training will be required to prepare for situations such as a terrorist attack or major hurricane.

The evacuation procedure should, at a minimum, include:25

  • Description of the emergency signal/notification and action to be taken
  • Responses to the emergency notification
    • Secure evidence?
    • Turn off sources of ignition?
    • Leave immediately?
  • Designated evacuation meeting locations
    • Primary and secondary
  • Procedures to follow at the evacuation meeting location
    • Employee roll call
    • All clear signal
  • Responsible personnel and their duties

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