Birck Nanotechnology Center

Operating Policies and Procedures

Safety and Emergency Response Procedures

3.1 Safety Systems

3.2 Emergency Facilities

3.3 Emergency Procedures

3.4 Emergency Action

3.5 Emergency Weather

3.6 Gas And Chemical Delivery Safety Procedures

Safety and Emergency Response Procedures

Hazardous production material (HPM) is defined by the Indiana Fire Code as “A solid, liquid, or gas associated with semiconductor manufacturing that has a degree-of-hazard rating in health, flammability, or reactivity of Class 3 or 4 as ranked by UFC Standard 79-3.”  This definition is implied when the term hazardous material is used in this document.  (See Appendix 3 for examples of commonly used BNC hazardous materials.)

3.1 Safety Systems

3.1.1 Air Monitoring

A fixed air monitoring system monitors for gaseous chemical releases at the points most likely to sense such a release.  Typically, the sensor is placed in the exhaust duct just downstream of a potential release point, such as a valve inside an equipment enclosure.  For toxic gases, the warning limit is set at 25% the threshold limit value (TLV) for that gas and the evacuation limit is set at 50% the TLV for the gas.   For flammable gases, the warning limit is set at 10% the lower flammability limit (LFL) of the gas and the evacuation limit is set at 20% the LFL for the gas.

3.1.2 Exhaust Ventilation

Exhaust ventilation is provided at all locations where hazardous liquid chemicals or hazardous gases are in use.  The static pressure and flow rate of this ventilation is maintained in compliance with the Purdue University Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).

3.1.3 Fire Protection

Pull stations, extinguishers, Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s) are provided for use by trained individuals.  Please see a building map for their locations.

3.2 Emergency Facilities

3.2.1 Emergency Response Team (ERT) Room

In case of emergency, the ERT meeting point is outside the South East entrance to the Birck Nanotechnology Center near Room 1137.  This area is the meeting point for emergency responders only, and in the event of a cleanroom or building emergency it may serve as the command post to coordinate the actions of staff and emergency responders, depending on the nature of the emergency.  In some cases, a command post will be established away from the building.

Building emergency panels are located inside the southeast entrance to the building for use by emergency responders.

3.2.2 Emergency Access

When practical, emergency responders will consult with the Cleanroom Staff and/or Laboratory Staff before entering the facility.  For gaseous- or liquid-chemical emergencies, it is strongly recommended that a staff member be contacted prior to emergency responders entering the facility.

3.2.3 Emergency Exit Locations


3.3 Emergency Procedures

Please note:  The information contained in this document is a supplement to the Purdue University Emergency Procedures Handbook.  This handbook can be accessed from the following link or by contacting Radiological and Environmental Management (REM) at 46371. 


3.3.1 Evacuation Procedures


  1. When the alarm sounds, leave the building immediately.
  2. Alert others to the emergency and ask if they will need help in evacuation.
  3. Do not use elevators unless instructed to do so by emergency personnel.

NOTE:  It is suggested that people with disabilities prepare for emergencies by learning the locations of exit corridors and enclosed stairwells and by informing co-workers, professors, and/or classmates of best methods of assistance during an emergency. 

If you wish to have assistance in preplanning please call the Fire Department at (765) 494-6919. Initiation of an Evacuation

The evacuation of the facility can be initiated through pulling a fire-pull station or activating an Emergency Gas Shutoff switch.  Emergency responders will be automatically summoned.
The evacuation of the facility is automatically initiated when the “danger” alarm level is detected by the hazardous gas monitoring system.  For details regarding this level, see Section 3.1.1 Air Monitoring above.
The fire evacuation alarm is a siren tone, similar to the siren on a police or fire vehicle.  The toxic gas evacuation alarm is beeping tone.  A supplemental voice message will also announce the evacuation. Response to Evacuation Alarm

DO NOT USE ELEVATORS during an emergency evacuation.  When the building evacuation alarm is sounded or when told to leave by a designated emergency official or staff member, walk quickly to the nearest marked exit and ask others to do the same.

Once outside, MOVE CLEAR OF THE BUILDING ALLOWING OTHERS TO EXIT, then move immediately to main (southwest) entrance area of the Burton Morgan Entrepreneurship Center (Venture Café area) to the northeast of the BNC (See Map in Appendix 5).  This gathering point will be used to ensure that all people safely evacuated the building, so it is critical that you come to this location so that you can be logged out of the building.

Please be aware of people with disabilities in your area that might require assistance during an evacuation.  Please assist them as needed. 

Stay calm, and take steps to protect yourself.  If there is a working telephone, call 911 and tell the emergency dispatcher where you are or where you will be moving.  If you must move, we recommend the following:

  1. Move to an exterior enclosed stairwell.
  2. Request persons exiting by way of the stairway to notify the Fire Department of your location.
  3. As soon as practical, move onto the stairway and await emergency personnel. All-Clear Signal

Please do not re-enter the building until the all-clear announcement is given by a uniformed Purdue Police or Fire Officer.  Do not re-enter the building based on guidance from any other  person. Emergency Responders

There are several volunteer and professional teams within the BNC who respond to emergency situations in the facility.  To volunteer for one of these teams, please contact the BNC Safety Manager or REM at 46371.

3.3.2 Fire

In preparation for a potential fire emergency, know the location of pull stations, fire exits, and alarm systems in your area and know how to use them.

Do not fight the fire.  Make sure the Fire Department has been called and the building alarm has been sounded.  In all cases, possible injury and excessive risks should be avoided. 
If you become trapped in a building during a fire:

  1. Stay calm, and take steps to protect yourself.
  2. If possible, move to a room with an outside window.
  3. If there is a telephone, call 911 and tell the dispatcher where you are.  Do this even if you can see fire department personnel from the window.
  4. Stay where rescuers can see you through the window, and wave a light-colored item to attract their attention.
  5. Stuff clothing, towels or paper around the cracks in the door to help keep smoke out of your refuge.
  6. Be patient.  Rescue of occupants within large structures will take time.

Fire Life Safety Equipment
Sprinkler systems and water flow detection devices are present throughout the BNC. Water flow in these devices is monitored by University Emergency Dispatch Center and automatically triggers a response.
Smoke detectors are installed throughout the BNC.
Manually activated fire alarm pull stations are located at all exit points. If any sprinkler, heat detector, or pull station is activated, an alarm will sound throughout the building.  Smoke detectors will also activate the building alarm.  .
Elevator Fire Control may cause the building elevators to respond differently.  DO NOT attempt to use the elevators to evacuate any building.  If you are on an elevator when the emergency alarm sounds, exit the elevator when it stops and leave the building via the emergency exit route.
Emergency lighting will activate automatically in a power failure and last for a minimum of 90 minutes.
Illuminated exit signs indicate proper emergency exit paths.

3.3.3 Hazardous Spills/Release Liquid Chemical Spills

A liquid chemical spill is defined as the release of a finite amount of liquid outside its primary and secondary containment.  For example, a beaker of a chemical tipping over inside a hood that is fully contained by the hood is not a spill.  Conversely, if the beaker tips over in such a way that liquid runs down the front of the hood that is a spill.   Laboratory Spills

All liquid chemical spills within the laboratory areas must be reported to a Laboratory Staff member immediately.  The laboratory staff member will remediate the spill and report the spill to Purdue Fire Department, if necessary.

If the laboratory spill is of sufficient quantity to present a danger to the occupants of that laboratory, or if fumes and/or vapors from the spill are causing adverse symptoms to that laboratory’s occupants, all people in that laboratory must leave.  The entrances to the laboratory are to be guarded or blocked with an “Emergency Spill” pylon until the remediation efforts are completed.  Cleanroom Spills

All liquid chemical spills within the cleanroom must be reported to a Cleanroom Staff member immediately.  The cleanroom staff member will remediate the spill and report the spill to Purdue Fire Department, if necessary. It is critical that the raised-floor panels and the sub floor area be properly cleaned following a spill.

If the cleanroom spill is of sufficient quantity to present a danger to cleanroom occupants, or if fumes and/or vapors from the spill are causing adverse symptoms to cleanroom occupants, an evacuation of the cleanroom is to be initiated.  Follow the procedures listed in the Cleanroom Evacuation section of this document.  (See Section 6.8) Biohazardous Spills inside of BSL1 and BSL2 labs

A minimally biohazardous material that is spilled without generating significant aerosols may be cleaned up with a paper towel soaked in an effective decontaminating agent (10% bleach or commercial virucide/bacteriocide). A spill of a large volume of biohazardous material (generally 50 milliliters or more) with the generation of aerosols will require evacuation of the area and closing off the area. Clean up personnel wearing protective clothing and respiratory protection will be required to come in to decontaminate.

Users should always be aware of the biological agents and their potential hazards when working with them in any quantity. With M. tuberculosis, for example, the risk of exposure from the spill of a small quantity might be many times that of a much larger spill of E. coli. Therefore, if the agent is known, the recommended procedure and protective equipment should be used.  If in doubt as to the danger level, treat as if it is the more dangerous material.  Please contact the Birck Biosafety Officer for any biohazardous material spill >50mL which occur in a Birck Biosafety Lab (BSL).

  1. Initiate cleanup at once, while the cabinet continues to operate, using an appropriate disinfectant such as a 1 to 10 solution of household bleach in water.  Avoid the use of organic solvents (alcohols) as a first step in decontamination.  70% EtOH may be used only AFTER the initial cleanup to surface sterilize the hood.
  2. Prevent the generation and escape of aerosols and contaminants from the cabinet during decontamination. Work well within the hood’s workbench – away from the front grill.
  3. For large spills (greater than 50 milliliters), formaldehyde gas decontamination can be used for final decontamination (arranged by REM). Notify the Birck Biosafety Officer about the spill and close off the area. The Biosafety Officer will notify REM to schedule a decontamination process.


  1. Evacuate the room immediately, close doors, remove all contaminated clothing, and place in a designated biohazard spill bag located near the exit.  Decontaminate any body surfaces that may have been contaminated using germicidal soap and water.
  2. Allow enough time (at least 30 minutes) for droplets to settle and aerosols to be reduced by the ventilation system before re-entering.
  3. Don protective clothing including a face shield.
  4. Decontaminate the spill with an appropriate disinfectant (e.g. 1:10 solution of household bleach in water or approved bacteriocide/virucide/fungicide).
  5. Decontaminate and dispose of contaminated items by placing them in an orange autoclavable biohazard bag and closing it up with a twist tie or tape.
  6. Following cleanup, responders should wash or shower with a germicidal soap and water. All contaminated material in the biohazard bag should be autoclaved as soon as possible in Bindley Bioscience Center, Room 233.

NOTE: REM must be consulted as part of the cleanup procedure.   Bodily Fluid Spills outside of the BSL2 Labs

If you witness a bodily fluid spill, or if you discover a bodily fluid in the facility, DO NOT attempt to clean up the fluid spill yourself.  Instead contact the Birck Biohazard Safety Officer  immediately and follow the Purdue University Bloodborne Pathogen procedures:  Mark the area with yellow Biohazard Tape and notify personnel within the affected area.  The Birck Biohazard Safety Officer will take care of the spill if the volume is not greater than 50 milliliters.  Large spills will require assistance from REM for cleanup and documentation.

3.3.2 Hazardous-Gas Release

The release of a hazardous gas requires an immediate evacuation of the building.  Please activate the Emergency Gas Shutoff buttons as you are exiting the building.  Follow the evacuation procedures in Section 3.3.1 of the document. 

3.4 Emergency Action

3.4.1 Medical Emergency


Call 911 or use Emergency Call Box and report incident.


Do not move the patient unless safety dictates.

Fire Department personnel are trained certified Emergency Medical Technicians.  They will respond to medical emergencies on campus.  Any injury occurring as a result of an existing hazardous condition should be reported to the Purdue Police Department.

Request emergency medical assistance by calling the Emergency Dispatch Center at 911.

The individual making the call should make every effort to stay on the phone with the dispatcher and answer as many questions as possible regarding the condition of the injured person so that information can be forwarded to the responding emergency personnel.

The Purdue University Fire Department maintains an Advanced Life Support Transport Service. Medical emergencies should not be transported in personal or University vehicles.  The ambulance is on call 24 hours a day.

3.5 Emergency Action

3.5.1 Tornado/Take Cover Alarm

1. Move to the lowest level or interior corridor.

2. Stay away from windows.

3. Do not call 911 unless you require emergency assistance.



3.6 Gas & Chemical Delivery Safety Procedures

3.6.1 Gas Cylinder Changing Procedures

Gas cylinders must be changed by designated, trained personnel.  BNC Users should NOT attempt to change a gas cylinder at any time.

All compressed gas cylinders should be treated as a potential energy source and handled as a potential projectile.  Gas cylinders must remain securely chained to a wall when in use.  If multiple cylinders are stored in the same area, they must be tightly nested and secured with an external chain.  Transport of gas cylinders requires an approved cart or dolly and the cylinder valve must be protected by a cylinder cap. Do not transport gas cylinders with a regulator attached.

3.6.2 Chemical Delivery

New chemical deliveries will be supervised by  the BNC Safety Manager only.  DO NOT bring chemicals into the facility unless you are working through  the Safety Manager.  Chemical samples brought into the facility must be approved through the Safety Manager.

Bringing chemicals into the facility in an unauthorized manner will result in sanctions.