Question: Have you ever had to evacuate your lab, if so, why?
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Jessica Wade answered on 22 Jun 2015:
Yes, but only when there are fire alarms. These chemists probably have some awful stories! Once a boy in chemistry caused a fire using a very dangerous gas, and the whole university had to be evacuated because they were worried about all of the potions and mixtures in the lab. It is very hard for the fire brigade and the police to come because they don’t know how dangerous the other things in the labs are.
Lynn Martin answered on 23 Jun 2015:
We have had a number of lab evacuations but all due to fire alarms. The autoclaves which are large high temperature high pressure sterilisers sometimes leak steam and that sets the alarms off. We also have very dangerous toasters which have caused 200 people to stand in the rain till the fire brigade arrive. Thankfully nothing dangerous
Kevin Honeychurch answered on 23 Jun 2015:
Similar to Jessica and Lynn, but i have had to leve before due to a fire in my lab caused by solvent leaking on to a hot plate.
Andrew Fensham-Smith answered on 25 Jun 2015:
Yes a couple of times. Mainly for fire alarms, but a few times those weren’t just fire drills – somebody had really had a fire or an explosion in the department! These are actually quite scary and in a few people got hurt. It’s impossible to get rid of all the risks doing chemistry, but being aware of the safety involved in each chemical helps reduce the risk.
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