MEMORANDUM

TO:               All Laboratory Personnel

FROM:          Kenneth P. Capezzuto, Executive Director
                      Office of Environmental Health and Safety

DATE:            May 30, 2013

SUBJECT:    Hurricane Preparations for Laboratories

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When a hurricane occurs, time for preparation may not be available, therefore, the Principal Investigator and/or laboratory director should do advance planning and preparation appropriate to the specific needs of that laboratory. Current Emergency Preparedness information for the University may always be found at http://www.miami.edu/prepare; it is recommended that the Disaster Plan be reviewed, particularly the section on Unit Level Preparations which lists many issues for consideration in developing a plan specific to that laboratory. Additional general information regarding the handling and storage of chemicals and biological agents may be found in the Laboratory Safety Manual. The following recommendations are intended to minimize the damage resulting from a hurricane should the integrity of the laboratory structure be compromised.

EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND DOCUMENTS

1. Secure computers and other laboratory equipment.
2. Back up key data and store off site.
3. Move desks, file cabinets and equipment away from windows. Store as much equipment as possible in closets or windowless rooms away from external walls. DO NOT STORE ITEMS IN CORRIDORS
4. Remove all items from window ledges.
5. Protect books, valuable papers and equipment by covering with plastic sheeting secured with duct tape.
6. Disconnect all electrical equipment. Refrigerators and freezers should be left ON at the coldest setting.

CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL AGENTS

7. If applicable, consider sending critical samples out of the area through pre-existing arrangements with bio-repositories and non-local collaborators/colleagues. If you do not currently have any arrangements, you may establish such through a University-approved vendor such as Kryosphere, Novare,or Fisher Bioservices. If you need special facility needs contact Alan Harris at 305-243-6375 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
8. Clean all laboratory benches as completely as practical.
9. Confirm that the spill control kit is stocked and its location marked.
10. Store chemicals and biological agents in isolated and windowless rooms. If an isolated windowless room is not available, store chemicals in cabinets or closets that can be locked or secured. Use care when handling and storing chemicals to avoid an accidental release. Chemicals should be segregated based on their compatibility.

For further information on these guidelines, contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 305-243-3400.