Storm Preparation for Research Labs


Due to the possible inclement weather that Birmingham may experience over the next few days, the Department of Occupational Health and Safety has prepared a list of considerations for you and your lab. Keep in mind that utility services may be altered or totally unavailable, including water, electricity, vacuum systems, steam, and natural gas. Weather systems like these can cause conditions to deteriorate rapidly. Make your preparations now.

The following list is developed to help you prepare your lab and protect your research assets. Consider the following:
  • Complete existing experiments to a termination point. Do not start any new experiments. Shut down equipment if hazardous conditions may result from loss of utilities ( i.e., loss of coolant, vacuum, steam for autoclaves).
  • If you plan to complete experiments during the inclement weather event:
    1. Be prepared to provide your own basic necessities.
    2. Be prepared to terminate experiments immediately if conditions deteriorate.
    3. Register with UAB Police at 934-3535. Give them your name, building and room number.
  • Plug refrigerators and freezers into emergency power where available. Red outlets are typically connected to emergency power. Avoid opening freezers and refrigerators to maximize cooling ability.
  • Secure and protect valuable research samples, radioactive isotopes, biohazardous agents, recombinant materials, and hazardous chemicals to prevent breakage and release.
  • Secure chemical, radioactive, and biological waste.
  • Fill dewars and cryogen reservoirs for critical sample storage.
  • Securely store all select agents in double containment within approved facilities.
  • Secure all other regulated materials.
  • Confirm that arrangements have been made for the care of laboratory animals.
  • Remove equipment, chemicals, wastes, and supplies from the floor in areas that may flood.
  • Breakable items or items that may become airborne in heavy winds should be moved away from outside windows.
  • Ensure all gas cylinders are secure. Cylinders not currently in use should be capped and secured.
  • Close fume hood sashes.
  • Unplug computers, printers, and all other electrical equipment (except refrigerators and freezers).
  • Cover and secure or seal vulnerable equipment with plastic.
  • Protect valuable files, research notebooks, and data to a safe, secure location. Assist colleagues in securing their materials where possible.
  • Back-up computer files, make more than one copy and store in several different locations.
  • Check emergency phone numbers. Update emergency notification lists on lab doors. Add temporary contact information if staying in a different location.
  • Take personal valuables home.
  • Be sure you have your UAB ID with you. Don’t leave it at work.
  • If there is ongoing disaster response in the area, do not attempt to enter. Check the status of UAB buildings by contacting UAB Facilities dispatch at 934-5353.
  • Radioactive materials delivery may be suspended.
The UAB Inclement Weather Hotline at (205) 934-2165 and the UAB Web site are official sources of UAB Information. Other emergency information for UAB is broadcast on WBHM at 90.3 FM. and other local media.