A student at the University of California, Davis, was injured while performing an experiment in his dormitory in the Russell Park Apartments early yesterday morning. After the student checked himself into the hospital for injuries to his hand, the hospital notified campus officials; officials found chemicals within the apartment, but did not disclose the makings of the chemical cocktail that caused the explosion.
Officials stated that a make-shift ventilation unit was installed in one of the windows; the student was not preforming his experiments under chemical hoods, as provided in UCD’s laboratories. Although UCD Police Chief Matt Carmichael stated this was the first time he encountered such an event, the Center for Campus Fire Safety urges campus fire, health, and safety inspectors throughout our great Nation to take a serious look at your students’ activities, especially within their rooms. Routine room inspections may result in campus officials noticing signs of experimentation in these areas, thus preventing another similar incident from occurring.
For researchers interested in keeping themselves safe while working with potentially hazardous chemicals, Montclair State University, a university affiliated with the Center for Campus Fire Safety, offers these suggestions, from their Laboratory Safety Manual:
One of the primary safety devices in a laboratory is a chemical fume hood. A well-designed hood, when properly installed and maintained, can offer a substantial degree of protection to the user, provided that it is used appropriately and its limitations are understood.
The determination that a fume hood is necessary for a particular experiment should be based on a hazard analysis of the planned work. Such an analysis should include:
- A review of the physical characteristics, quantity and toxicity of the materials to be used.
- The experimental procedure.
- The volatility of the materials present during the experiment.
- The probability of their release.
- The number and sophistication of manipulations.
- The skill and expertise of the individual performing the work.
To learn more about CCFS and its programs, visit www.campusfiresafety.org.
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Campus Fire Safety Resources: http://www.campusfiresafety.org/resources
About The Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS)
The Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS) is a non-profit, member focused organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at our nation’s campuses. The mission of The Center for Campus Fire Safety is to serve as an advocate for the promotion of campus fire safety. CCFS serves as the focal point for the efforts of a number of organizations and also as a clearinghouse for information relating to campus fire safety. Visit us at www.campusfiresafety.org for more information.
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