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Unformatted text preview: that is burning. If you try to pick up a beaker that is on fire,
should you drop it, the burning chemical will spill making the situation even worse.
Never use water to extinguish a chemical fire. Many flammable liquids float on water,
meaning that the water will have no effect but to spread the fire. Other chemicals may even react
explosively with water!
If a fire is large enough to warrant the use of a fire extinguisher, the proper use of the
extinguisher is as follows; (1) Be sure there is an exit behind you in case you cannot get the fire
under control; (2) pull out the restraining pin (which requires breaking the plastic seal); (3) point
the extinguisher hose at the base of the fire; (4) holding the extinguisher UPRIGHT, squeeze the
handle to release the extinguishing media; (5) sweep the spray back and forth at the front of the
fire. There are two important things to remember when using a fire extinguisher. (1) You may
only have about a 30 second blast of extinguishing media, so extinguishers are only for use on
relatively small fires. (2) Some fires may be inappropriate for a fire extinguisher. Be sure you
have the right rating of the extinguisher, and never try to extinguish a fire on a vertical surface!
Chemicals and Chemical Spills
Report all chemical spills IMMEDIATELY to your lab supervisor. The chemicals you
will be handling are NOT "scaled down" chemicals-they are exactly the same chemicals any
professional chemist would order and use. Keep a healthy respect for them, or they may bite
Should a chemical spill on your person, immediate remove all affected clothing (tops
from the back forward to avoid dragging the chemical across your face) and wash the affected
body area with copious amounts of water. Unfortunately, chemicals have no respect for modesty
Dakota State University Page 11 of 232 Safety Guidelines General Chemistry I and II Lab Manual and will cause permanent damage if not treated immediately. If a large portion of your clothing
is affected, immediately get to the safety shower and remove the contaminated clothing while the
water is running.
Small spills on the bench or floor must be cleaned up immediately. Sodium Bicarbonate
and vinegar are included as part of the safety equipment for neutralization of acids and alkaline
(basic) solutions respectively. Neutralize all acid and alkaline spills before cleaning. If you are
not sure how to clean a spill, let your lab supervisor know immediately.
Be especially careful of spills around the balances. These electronic devices are
EXTREMELY sensitive to corrosion. A brush is kept near the balances so you can brush the
balances thoroughly after EACH use (even a single grain of a reagent can cause irreversible
damage). Clean up ANY spill near the balance IMMEDIATELY, and report it to your
Mercury, lead, and other heavy metals pose a particular health hazard in that the human
body cannot get rid of heavy metals. Any heavy metals you’ve ever been exposed to are still
with you today (including mercury if you ever played with it, or lead if you’ve ever eaten lead
paint, a favorite activities of children as it...
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