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Current Affairs

Chemistry labs vulnerable to fires

Date: 28 July 2021 Tags: Disaster & Disaster Management

Issue

Fire incidents have been witnessed in premier institutes such as Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and National Chemical Laboratory (NCL).

 

Background

The losses due to the fire incidents in these institutes are expected to run into lakhs. The source of these fires was fume hood.

 

Preventive measures

  • The chemistry labs must be designed in such a way that there should be two way entry and exit in case of emergency situation.

  • The doors should be set up in diagonally opposite sides and equal distance from all parts of the lab for easy access. A refugee area should be set up outside the lab for escaping people to gather.

  • Gas sensors should be set up so that they detect any harmful gases and give warning. Water sprinklers should be installed for dousing fires automatically.

  • These sprinklers must be able to sprinkle water on a particular part of body during a fire incident all over a small area in case of larger burns.

 

Tools used

  • Anti-inflammable lab coats, fire extinguishers, sand buckets and fire safety alarms must be present inside labs.

  • The lab users must wear a lab coat coated with fire repellants like borax. The dress code also includes vinyl gloves, goggles, and heavy duty shoes.

 

Waste disposal

All wastes must be neutralized before disposing off. They are then sent to specific labs and plants that neutralize these chemicals.

 

Vulnerability

  • The chemicals used in chemistry labs have chances of reacting to surroundings and can turn fatal in comparison to Physics and biology.

  • The presence of volatile materials and fumes spread fire more easily. Cylinders and gases increase the intensity of incidents.