Basic Regulations for Fire Prevention
- The minimum amount of chemicals used for experiments should be stored within the laboratory.
- When using chemicals or high-pressure gas for experiments, the materials and related characteristics and emergency treatment procedures in case of accidents should be familiarized before conducting the experiment (reference the material safety information).
- After commencing operation of experiment equipment, do not play around with colleagues, desert the laboratory, or leave the vicinity during the experiment.
- Always keep the surrounding area tidy and remove flammable and combustible materials beforehand.
- Do not branch out multiple experiment equipment from the same plug. Seek professional help by asking the Facilities Management Team for power supply extensions.
- In preparation of fire, practice emergency escape routes with colleagues and familiarize the locations of emergency exits and fire extinguishers beforehand.
- Familiarize the proper use of fire extinguishers.
Proper Use of Fire Extinguishers
Types of Fire Extinguishers
This is currently the most commonly supplied fire extinguisher in South Korea - ammonium phosphate is the main ingredient. The emitted chemicals asphyxiate and suppress the burning surface. Although powder extinguishers are effective against general fires and electric fires, fire-extinguishing agents have different chemical properties from dry chemical powders and should not be mistaken with each other.
Types of powder extinguishers
Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher (CO₂Extinguisher)
Carbon dioxide is compressed and charged in a liquid state within the canister. The extinguisher is heavy because it uses a high-pressure gas canister. Although the drawback is that high-pressure gas cannot be easily handled, it is widely used because there is minimal damage caused by the fire-extinguishing agents and has high electric insulation.
Halon Fire Extinguisher
The extinguisher is filled with halon gas (1301, 1211, 2402). The extinguisher is most appropriate for oil fires because the emitted fire-extinguishing agents asphyxiate and suppress fires with a colorless and transparent radioactive vapourish liquid. Also, the fire-extinguishing agent is a non-conductor making it suitable for electric fires. Although the extinguisher is highly effective and does not cause severe bodily harm, using the extinguisher in an enclosed area over a long period of time is dangerous.
Procedural Guide in Case of Fire
The first thing to do in case of fire is evacuation.
- The most dangerous aspect of fire is not the flame, but the poisonous smoke.
- Keep your body as low as possible, cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief, and evacuate the premise in the opposite direction of the flames.
- Do not waste time gathering books, bags, and other valuables. Re-entering the laboratory after evacuation is extremely dangerous.
- Jumping up and down when your clothes catch on fire can cause the fire to spread. In a calm manner, extinguish the fire in the emergency shower facility in the hallway or bring your arms to your chest and roll on the floor.
The circumstances when a fire may be extinguished before evacuation are as follows :
- When you make a judgment call that there is enough time to evacuate in case of failure to extinguish the fire.
- After all laboratory colleagues have evacuated and there is spare time.
- When the fire is minor and does not pose a serious threat (minor fires occurring during experiments).
- When it is possible to operate the fire extinguisher from the entrance/exit (allowed because you can escape in case of emergency).
- Do not attempt to extinguish the fire when you are not confident. Instead report the fire and evacuate the premise.
Quickly report the fire to 4000 or 119.
When making the telephone call, it is important to calmly report the information that you know - such as the location, cause of fire, and the number of people who could not evacuate.
Do not use elevators.
Using elevators during a fire is extremely dangerous. Use the stairs to evacuate the building even in high-rise buildings.
When you are isolated within the room
- Yell or throw objects out the window to signal that you are trapped in the room.
- Close the door and block smoke from entering the room through the cracks in the door with blankets, sheets, or socks.
- Use a wet handkerchief as a mask and stay as low as possible.
- Promptly discontinue experimentation and calmly take the appropriate actions for each type of equipment and then evacuate the laboratory.
- Notify others within the laboratory in the case of a fire in a loud voice.
- In case of emergency evacuation, quickly evacuate the area via the closest entrance/exit.
- When exiting through emergency exits or other openings be sure to close the doors in order to delay the spread of fire and smoke.
- Smoke entering through window cracks or door cracks should be blocked with wet blankets, sheets, or socks. Stay as low as possible to the floor and breath in short breaths.
- If it is not possible to escape to lower floors, head to the rooftop and request rescue.
- When it is difficult to evacuate because of quickly approaching fire or smoke, do not strain yourself to exit the building, but instead perform the necessary safety measures from within the building and wait for rescue after informing rescuers of your location.
- In case of fire, elevators can stop at the floor where the fire occurred or discontinue operation due to blackouts and therefore, should never be used during fires.
- People trapped inside the building should yell out of flame or wave a white cloth to notify rescuers of their location.