If using the laboratory Web site for this purpose is not practical, consider using a blog. Many internet providers and search engine sites offer free blog services. Blogs allow the users to post information easily without the use of a Web-page editor.

3.D.2.5 Emergency Contacts

Having the name and contact information for at least one friend or family member of laboratory personnel is prudent. The information would be useful if a person cannot be reached or in an emergency involving the laboratory person.

3.D.2.6 Media and Community Relations

If an incident has caught the attention of the media, whether local, national, or even a school or facility newspaper, ensure that the institution’s spokesperson is involved in any conversations with reporters. Media inquiries should go through the person or group that is used to working with the media, because it is very easy for facts or issues to be misconstrued or presented in an inflammatory manner. All involved should be instructed to forward calls and interviewers to the media relations group.

When an incident command system has been instituted, a press officer will be appointed. All inquiries and statements go through this individual or group.

3.D.3 Assembly Point

Consider establishing an assembly point for laboratory personnel. In an emergency, essential personnel would be expected to report to that assembly point whether or not they have received specific instructions. This plan is especially helpful when communications are limited.


Fires, spills, and other emergencies may require evacuation of the building or the laboratory. All laboratory personnel should be aware of the evacuation procedures for the building and laboratory.

3.E.1 Shutdown Procedures

Some laboratories may have operations, materials, or equipment that could pose a hazard if simply abandoned and left unattended for an extended period. If a building is evacuated for an emergency, hours may elapse before personnel are allowed back inside. Consider the hazards in the laboratory and establish procedures to follow during an evacuation.

In the event that processes, experiments, or equipment were not shut down prior to evacuation and may pose a risk to health, the environment, or property, inform emergency responders of the situation. Emergency responders may escort a person into the laboratory to shut down the process, or they may ask for advice on how to do so themselves.

3.E.1.1 Processes Requiring Special Shutdown Procedures

Make a list of processes that need to be shut down prior to evacuation. Post the procedures in a conspicuous place and ensure that all laboratory personnel are aware of them. Posting a list at the exits may be helpful as a reminder to laboratory personnel as they leave.

3.E.1.2 Experiments Running Unattended

Note the hazards of experiments left unattended for an extended period. For routine procedures that fit into this category, establish procedures for safely terminating the procedure prior to evacuation.

3.E.2 Assembly Points and Evacuation Routes

Each building, section of a building, or group should have a designated assembly point to which individuals evacuate. At the assembly point, the emergency coordinator will account for individuals who should have evacuated, to advise emergency responders on the probability of individuals left in the building.

Main and alternative evacuation routes should be posted. Supervisors should ensure that all laboratory personnel are familiar with the safest way to evacuate the building and where to assemble. In case of evacuation, sign-in/sign-out boards or other check-in methods can be used as an aid to determine whether employees are in the building.


For certain emergency situations, rather than evacuation, emergency responders may advise that people shelter in place, meaning that they remain inside the building. Such circumstances may include hazardous material releases outdoors; weather emergencies, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, or suspects wielding weapons.

When directed to shelter in place, take the following actions:

   Go or stay inside the building.

   Do not use elevators.

   Close and lock doors and windows.

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