A fire could occur in any laboratory but is more likely where chemicals such as flammable liquids, oxidizers, and pyrophoric compounds are stored and used. Consider the amount of combustible materials in the laboratory, potential ignition sources, and any other factors that increase the potential for fire. Some equipment is vulnerable even to minor smoke damage, such as laser optics, and plates used for semiconductor work.
Assess the impact of a fire. Does the laboratory contain mission-critical equipment that could be damaged by fire or smoke? Are there smoke detectors in place? Are there detectors for hazardous vapors and gas? Is there a sprinkler system or other automatic extinguishing system? Are the correct type and number of fire extinguishers present and do people know how to use them? If possible, fire extinguisher training should involve practice putting out fires.
Floods could be due to rain, rising levels of bodies of water, water pipe breaks, or accidental or deliberate acts. Some areas are more prone to foods than others. Laboratories on the basement or ground level are more likely to be flooded in a storm than those on higher floors. Safety showers and eyewash stations that are not properly plumbed or do not have floor drains nearby may also be a source of flooding. Consider the likelihood of flooding and its impact. Also consider whether the laboratory contains equipment that is very sensitive to water damage. If flooding occurs, could it affect the space below the flood? If so, is the floor sealed appropriately? Are there overhead pipes?
3.B.1.3 Severe Weather
Storms and flooding can disrupt power, cause damage to buildings, and result in impassable roads. In severe cases, a local state of emergency in response to weather could close roads to all but essential travel. In areas that are prone to tornadoes or hurricanes, consideration should be given to the adequate protection of critical hazardous operations. For example, in some areas, hydrogen cylinders and liquid nitrogen tanks are located outside the building. It may be sensible in some areas to locate lab space away from outside windows.
If there are travel restrictions, would anyone be able to reach the laboratory? If so, is there a means of communication to inform the individual(s) able to travel that they need to do so? Are there operations that run unattended? What possible problems could arise if no one is able to come to the laboratory for a day, a few