A chemistry laboratory is replete with fire hazards of many types. Fire safety and training play a vital role in controlling the risk of fire daily. The number of reported laboratory fires in the United States each year is estimated to be less than fifty. However, the actual number of laboratory fires is assumed to be much higher due to the under-reporting of actual fires to the local fire department, even if the fire was successfully extinguished. When a fire occurs in a laboratory, every second matters as laboratory personnel respond; often, the actions involve a fire extinguisher. If well-trained, a scientist using a fire extinguisher can quickly suppress and extinguish a fire during its incipient stage, protecting life and property. From personal experience, one of the authors suggests that every graduate student in chemistry learns how to use a fire extinguisher, especially those who are new and laboratory teaching assistants. Experiences like this inspired Northwestern University's Office of Research Safety and the Research Safety Student Initiative to develop a robust and sustainable fire extinguisher training program.
- fire extinguisher
- graduate students
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Chemical Health and Safety