Emergency Response: Who to Evacuate in 200 Words or Less

Emergency_Respons_Waste.pngA common question you will need to deal with during a chemical spill is who to evacuate and how much of the area will need to be closed to personnel. Much of this will depend on the size and type of spill you’re dealing with.

A large spill of a relatively non-hazardous substance will require less action than a small spill of highly toxic or volatile chemical. Action will also depend on whether the spill occurs in an open space or within the confines of a small lab or fume hood. Regardless of where the spill happens, it’s best to take the “better safe than sorry” approach and evacuate as many people as possible.

If the spill occurs outdoors or in a large open area, anyone in line of sight of the spill should be moved to safety. Your Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) can then help you fine-tune your exclusion zone as it should clearly prescribe evacuation distances. When dealing with a spill in a lab or fume hood it’s generally acceptable to evacuate the lab and close the doors behind you. You should also use air monitoring at the door to ensure the breathing zone outside of the lab isn’t being impacted.

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