General Information

Top of Page

NSLS ESH Highlight #21

Fire Emergency

Date: August 31, 2000
Editor: T. Dickinson, N. Gmür

Recently, an occupant of the Building 510E (the third floor of Physics) came upon a smoldering wastepaper basket. He carried it to a nearby sink and added water to extinguish the embers.He then left the basket in the hall and went on his way, considering the event over. However, the Fire/Rescue Group received a report of smoke on the first floor of the same building and responded, but found no fire at that location. They searched the basement, and continued to the second and finally the third floor where the wastepaper basket was found. Subsequent investigation determined that the fire started when the owner of the wastepaper basket stubbed out a cigarette in it, sprinkled on a bit of water, and then left his office. There are important lessons to be learned from this event.

  1. Extensive Fire/Rescue resources were needed to find the source of the smoke. Disruption for building occupants was prolonged because the person who knew what had happened did not report the event.
  2. Carrying the wastepaper basket to the sink was not a good idea.Smoldering fires can suddenly burst into flame, particularly when disturbed. This can be very awkward and lead to injury and spread of the fire.
  3. One of the reasons smoking is not permitted in BNL buildings is because of the risk of personal injury, and serious property and programmatic loss from the resulting fires.

Fire safety issues are discussed in General Employee Training (GET) which is required for all BNL employees and guests.This incident reminds us of their importance.

Any fire that requires a fire extinguisher or other active measures to put out must be reported to the Fire/Rescue Group at x2222 or 911, even if the fire has been successfully put out.Any event that causes noticeable smoke or fumes, such as an over-heated bake-out or equipment failure should be reported since ventilation systems carry the smoke to other parts of the building. These odors can be more intense at the remote locations and are likely to be reported from there.If you are in Bldg. 725, also call the Control Room at x2550.The Operator will use the PA system to inform occupants, seek more information and take other actions as required.

When to Call x2222 or 911

Whenever you determine there is an emergency (due to fire/smoke/fumes, medical problem, spill), call x2222 or 911. Identify yourself. Explain the emergency. Describe clearly the location of the emergency and the nearest building entrance. Remember, if you are calling from a cell phone, you must dial 344-911.

Then, if you are in Bldg. 725, call the NSLS Control Room at x2550 and inform them of the problem. The Operator will make public address announcements and coordinate response efforts with BNL emergency forces.