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The users of hazardous materials at the University have historically had a good safety record. Sound safety programs, a controlled environment allowing ready access to the general site and the product, good equipment, a tested quick response capability and well-drilled personnel have contributed to this excellent record. However, incidents can occur in even the safest environment and an absence or breakdown of any of the above safeguards could result in a major emergency. User incidents may result from equipment failure, human error, and failure to follow established procedures, natural disaster, or sabotage.

Safety Data Sheets contain valuable information on the safe and proper use of hazardous products and chemicals. If there is a SDS needed for a product, contact the product's supplier, retrieve the information from the Internet or contact the director of safety and security, Police Department.


If Caught at the Scene of an Accident

  • If you see an accident, call (x2222 from a campus phone) or the University Police Dispatch Center by dialing 412-392-3960 to report the nature and location of the accident as soon as possible.
  • Move away from the accident scene and help keep others away.
  • Do not walk into or touch any of the spilled substance. Try not to inhale gases, fumes and smoke. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth while leaving the area.
  • Stay away from accident victims until the hazardous material has been identified.
  • Try to stay upstream, uphill and upwind of the accident.

How you may be notified of a major Hazardous Materials incident

In the event of a major hazardous materials incident, you will be notified through the PointALERT Emergency Notification System. Officials could even come to your door.

Listen carefully to radio or television emergency alert stations (EAS), and strictly follow instructions. Your life could depend on it.

You will be told:

  • The type of health hazard
  • The area affected
  • How to protect yourself
  • Evacuation routes (if necessary)
  • Shelter locations
  • Type and location of medical facilities
  • And the phone numbers to call if you need extra help.


  • You can provide a minimal amount of protection to your breathing by covering your mouth and nose with a damp cloth.
  • Close all windows
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems
  • Go to an above-ground room (not the basement) with the fewest windows and doors.
  • Wet some towels and jam them in the crack under the doors.
  • Stay in the room and listen to your radio until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.


Authorities may decide to evacuate an area for your protection. Again, it is important to stay calm, listen carefully and follow all instructions.

If you are told to evacuate, listen to your radio to make sure the evacuation order applies to you and to understand if you are to evacuate immediately or if you have time to pack some essentials. Do not use your telephone.

If you are told to evacuate immediately:

  • Take your personal belongings and medications
  • Close and lock your window
  • Lock the door
  • Move quickly and calmly


  • Return to building only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Follow local instructions concerning the safety of food and water.
  • Clean up and dispose of residue carefully. Follow instructions from emergency officials concerning clean-up methods.

Additional Information:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention