Biological, Chemical, or Radiological Release-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Biological, Chemical, or Radiological Release

For releases outside buildings:

  • A shelter-in-place announcement will usually be made. Should that occur, turn off local ventilation (fans, window air conditioners, etc.) and lock doors and windows to provide a more positive seal. Openings around doors and windows should be sealed.
  • Often you will be able to determine if the released material is lighter or heavier than air by a tell-tale vapor cloud. If the cloud is drifting along the ground, get to higher areas within your building and remain there until informed that the danger has passed. For visible vapors that appear to be rising, get to lower areas of the building.
  • If no visible evidence of the release is apparent, remain where you are until we can release information on further action to be taken.

For spills and releases of hazardous materials within laboratory buildings

  • Unless you know the properties of the material, assume it is hazardous.
  • Evacuate the area quickly. Take your coat, keys, and anything else you may need if unable to get back inside.
  • Experiments should be shut down or stabilized.
  • Electrical equipment and lights should be turned off.