Fire Safety in the Laboratory
A laboratory has a high risk for fires, especially if solvents are used and stored in the lab. Having a fire prevention procedure to follow is essential to minimize the potential fire risks. There are two types of fires in the lab. A planned fire can have open flames from a Bunsen burner, torch or matches. It can also be electrical from ovens, hot plates, lamps or overloaded wire. An unplanned or accidental fire happens when laboratory staff doesn’t follow procedures correctly or they lose control of materials and/or equipment.
Laboratory Fire Safety Measures:
- Heavy steel cabinets to store flammable liquids
- Heat detectors and fire alarms with pull stations
- Fire extinguishers that are easily accessible
- Fire doors to allow for a safe exit and contain the fire and smoke
- Restrict smoking in or near the lab
- Fire suppression system
- Automatic sprinkler system
- Use approved containers to store flammable liquids, solvents and materials
- Keep flammables away when lighting flames
- Remove all debris from aisles and floors
- Have fire blankets for clothing and flammable liquid spills
- Dispose of hazardous material only in approved containers
- Take regular inventory of items and remove any outdated
- Use the minimum quantity of combustibles that are necessary
- Wear appropriate personal protective gear and clothing
- Never work alone and have a procedural list in case of fire
A trained staff can help minimize the risk of fire and stop it from spreading if one does occur. Knowing what to do in the event of a small fire can often make the difference between a small incident and a catastrophic emergency. Every member of the lab should be able to take effective action as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.
It is important for you to be prepared in the event of a laboratory fire and to have a fire safety plan in place. Call Fire Control Systems to help keep your laboratory safe with fire detection systems, fire suppression systems, fire sprinkler systems, safety inspections, and more.