Fire Safety in the Laboratory You Must Know
Fire incidences are serious and therefore, without safety measures in the laboratory, we may lose valuable time in wait for restoration.
However, every member of a laboratory must be fully aware of the precautions; the potential hazards of the materials they are working with.
Fire safety must be paramount therefore, precautions must be something to consider as well!
In addition, we must take safety precautions of both ourselves and our counterparts. In this case, by displaying our fire safety measures in the laboratory.
Definitely, this will guide some of us who might not be aware of the safety measures in case of a fire incident!
Meanwhile, leave fire safety aside and ask yourself…what kind of factors facilitate fire occurrence (in the laboratory)?
In general, 3 factors must be present or together to interfere with your fore safety. So, for a FIRE to occur or continue burning these factors must be present:
- Oxygen – to support combustion.
- Fuel – In essence, something to burn.
- Heat – To ignite the fuel and sustain.
Therefore,when these 3 factors are represented in form of a diagram, they constitute/make fire triangle as shown in most fire safety guides.
However, if you remove any of these components, it causes the fire triangle to collapse hence your safety is restored!
This definitely indicates that fire outbreak (in the laboratory) is impossible or rather a fire which has been burning cannot continue to burn.
Fire: By definition, it is a self-sustaining combustion process which takes places in the vapour phase producing heat, smoke and incandescence.
Precautions To Be Taken in the laboratory.
i.) For your safety, tightly stopper all flammable chemicals when you are not in using them in the laboratory.
ii.) Keep flammable chemicals away from naked flames.
iii.) Do not smoke in the laboratory. (A common precaution we can easily remember).
iv.) Extinguish open flames when you no longer require.
v.) Do not use kerosene or charcoal burner in the laboratory’s main working room.
vi.) Drain flammable liquids down the sink with plenty of water or discard into a pit latrine.
vii.) Set up emergency fire fighting measures outside the exit door of your laboratory. These measures include:
- Sand buckets painted red and labelled “fire”.
- Fire extinguishers of carbon dioxide type.
- Fire blankets.
Precautions Against Electrical Hazards in the Laboratory
i.) Keep electrical equipment clean and dry and away from any water source.
ii.) Regularly, check the lids and other parts of electrical equipment for wear.
iii.) Do not overload electrical outlets in the laboratory.
iv.) Label faulty equipment and do not use them in the laboratory until they are properly repaired.
v.) All electrical equipment must be serviced by a qualified personnel. In using equipment, follow recommendations in the manufacturer’s handbook.