Friday, August 17, 2007

Fire!

Friday evening after work I popped a Lean Cuisine into my trusty Kenmore microwave, turned the time to 3 minutes, and went to check my email. After I heard a loud popping sound, I went back into the kitchen only to discover that my microwave had caught on fire. Tons of disgusting-smelling smoke filled the air, and I could barely see my kitchen. Luckily, I'm a chemist, so I was prepared to pull the trigger on the fire extinguisher. Amazingly, the chemistry microwave we have in lab has never created any problems, but my own food microwave decides to blow up in my face! My new cat and I ended up spending the night at the Ramada Inn to avoid inhaling the nasty smoke.

So I am wondering--do all of your chemistry departments offer safety training before you start working in the laboratory? We had to take a laughable online safety exam--but also had a small practical course in which we were required to put out a small fire using an extinguisher. Although I found it annoying at the time, I'm very grateful for that hot summer afternoon that we spent putting out fires. I had never used a fire extinguisher before in my life.

21 comments:

Ψ*Ψ said...

I never received any training, but I wish I had. Fortunately, one of my labmates is very quick with the extinguisher...

Jordan said...

In my undergrad, graduate, and post-doc schools, you couldn't start working in the lab until you had passed a written safety exam.

Christoph said...

We had to put out a fire in a hood every semester using a fire extinguisher as well as using a blanket to put out a fire on a dummy person. For some reason that dummy was about 2m tall, so shorter people really had problems to even reach up to the fire. It was always good for some laughs. :-)

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