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Environmental Health and Safety
The University of Mississippi

Crisis Management & Hazardous Waste Facility Contingency Plan

The purpose of this plan is to outline the emergency response procedures for the Hazardous Waste Storage Facility as well as other areas that use or store hazardous materials on the Oxford campus of the University of Mississippi.

An emergency is defined as a threat to public health, safety or welfare or the environment from fires, explosions, spills or any unplanned sudden or non-sudden release of hazardous material or hazardous waste to the air, soil, surface water or ground water. When a reported incident that does not meet any of the above criteria involves the release of a hazardous material or hazardous waste in excess of the reportable quantities identified by federal regulations, the release will be designated as an emergency. Environmental Health and Safety personnel maintain a current listing of all reportable quantities (ranging from one to 100 pounds depending on hazard(s) of the chemical).

Nonemergency: If no emergency is identified, or no reportable quantity release occurs, the hazardous-material incident will be handled using appropriate sections of the contingency plan and laboratory spill guidelines as necessary, but no state or local notification will be required. Laboratory or other small spills should be evaluated using the above criteria in determining whether an actual emergency exists. A small spill in itself may not constitute an emergency if the material is not hazardous or if the spill can easily be handled by the laboratory personnel.

The provisions of this plan will be carried out immediately whenever an emergency occurs.

Emergency Procedures

For the purpose of this plan, responding personnel will follow these procedures during any declared emergency:

  1. Notification
  2. Identification of Released Material
  3. Hazard Assessment
  4. Evacuation
  5. Containment and Decontamination
  6. Termination
  7. Emergency Equipment

1. Notification

Whenever there is an actual or imminent emergency, such as a toxic chemical release, fire or explosion, which has the potential to cause pollution of the air, land or waters of the state, and/or endanger the public health and well-being of the surrounding community, on-scene personnel will immediately contact the hazmat emergency coordinator from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 915-5433. After-hours calls may transfer over to personnel in the Physical Plant Dispatcher’s Office, 915-7087, who will contact an on-call responder(s) through telephone, cell phone, radio and/or pagers.

The hazmat emergency coordinator will determine whether the incident constitutes a release of a reportable quantity of hazardous material to the environment. If the incident meets a hazardous material reportable quantity requirement, or any other federally mandated reporting requirement, the hazmat emergency coordinator may direct a representative of the university to notify (as required) one or more of the following agencies:

Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality 1-601-961-5171 (Facility Releases)
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency 1-800-222-6362 (Non-University Materials)
Mississippi Highway Patrol 1-601-987-1530 (Roadway Incidents)
Mississippi Division of Radiological Health 1-601-987-6893 (Radiological Incidents)
National Response Center 1-800-424-8802 (Reportable Quantities)
CHEMTREC 1-800-424-9300 (Common Carriers)
Military Shipments 1-800-851-8061 (Military Materials)


Other local agencies:
University Police Department 4-911
Oxford Fire Department Emergency Number 9-911
Baptist Hospital/Ambulance Services 9-911

2. Identification of Released Materials

Whenever there is a chemical release, fire or explosion, the hazmat emergency coordinator must immediately identify the source and amount of material released, either through knowledge obtained from on-site personnel, Material Safety Data Sheets or through personal investigation.

Immediately identify the character, exact source, amount and extent of all released materials. If a motor vehicle is involved, check for shipping papers or other documents in the cab, note container shapes, sizes, markings, labels and placards.

Identify any personnel injuries, medical requirements and evacuation routes.

The potential for fire, soil and water contamination and the potential release of toxic fumes to neighboring areas must receive the highest priority.

3. Hazard Assessment

The hazmat emergency coordinator will concurrently assess the possible hazards to human health or the environment that may result from the release, fire or explosion. Factors to be considered in making this assessment are as follows:

  1. Direct hazards due to the release:
    1. Presence of flammable or corrosive vapors in the building.
    2. Presence and character of released liquid or gas, either flammable irritant, corrosive, toxic or asphyxiating.
    3. Potential for involvement of other containers in the area due to heat produced in fire or corrosion of metal due to the release of an acid, gas or liquid.
    4. Potential for radioactive materials contamination or exposure.
  2. Indirect hazards due to the release:
    1. Effects of spill or fire upon human health and the environment.
    2. Effects of fire or spill control activities such as water runoff.

Based on the information obtained in the assessment, the hazmat emergency coordinator will determine whether evacuation of the building or a portion of the building is warranted.

4. Evacuation Plan

University personnel are instructed to treat hazardous-materials incidents as fire emergencies. Depending on the nature and amount of material spilled, evacuation would proceed in the same manner as a fire situation — people are instructed to alert neighbors and attend to victims without endangering their own lives.

Evacuation maps with exit routes indicated on them are posted in all university buildings and on the walls by every elevator.

During a hazardous-materials incident, the first police or fire officer on the scene will assume control of the situation and will become the on-scene commander. Depending upon the nature and extent of the incident, a command post may be established at the scene or in the Lyceum as necessary.

The on-scene commander will transfer his or her authority to the first staff member from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety that arrives at the incident location. All police, fire department and other involved personnel will operate under the direction of the on-scene commander.

This individual will also designate a safe location for incoming supplies and personnel, and will advise the University Police and the Physical Plant of this location. The first arriving unit(s) will isolate the area and deny entry to the public and to all nonessential personnel.

EMERGENCY AUTHORITY: During an emergency involving hazardous materials, Environmental Health and Safety personnel have the authority to commit any university resources necessary to mitigate the incident and to protect the environment.

5. Containment and Decontamination

Special containment measures are provided in areas where hazardous materials and/or hazardous waste are stored, used or processed to collect, capture or contain any spill. Environmental Health and Safety has appropriate materials to contain and clean up most laboratory-size spills and additional materials to plug and overpack container and drum leaks. During emergencies, the hazmat emergency coordinator will take all reasonable measures necessary to ensure that fires, explosions or releases do not occur, recur or spread to other wastes stored at the site, or to storm water, whenever possible and without endangering human life. These measures will consist of collecting and containing spilled material and removing or isolating containers.

6. Termination

  1. Debrief emergency personnel and civilians involved in the incident.
  2. Document the incident and advise individuals involved as to effects of exposure, properties of the materials, etc.

7. Emergency Equipment

  1. Fire control equipment:
    1. Fire extinguishers – 10-pound, Class B-C portable carbon dioxide extinguishers are available in most laboratories, shops and service areas. They are mounted on walls of hallways, inside and next to the main entrance of each room or laboratory. These fire extinguishers are in compliance with National Fire Code standard for portable fire extinguishers. In the event of fire, personnel may choose to use the extinguisher if such action does not endanger their safety. Personnel are never required to attempt to fight fires.
    2. Flammable storage. Flammable chemicals and chemical waste are stored in flammable cabinets and/or storage rooms where secondary containment is provided.
  2. Spill control equipment:
    Spill response supplies are stored in the the Chemical Storage Facility and the Radiation Safety Laboratories. All supplies can be brought to an incident location in a short period of time. These supplies include acid, caustic, solvent, neutralizing, adsorbing or solidifying agents for spills ranging in size from one to 10 liters; 30-pound bags of vermiculite; 5-gallon plug and dike; spill absorbent pads, pigs and pillows; mercury decontaminating powder (Hg-X).
  3. Internal and external communication:
    1. Telephones: Most laboratories and service areas have access to telephones.
    2. Fire alarm pull stations are located in most hallways of building, near exit stairways of all floors.
  4. Personal decontamination equipment:
    1. All laboratories, shops and service areas where personnel use or store hazardous materials are required to have access to safety showers and eye washes.
    2. All areas have access to running water through sinks and hose attachments.
    3. Special decontamination area will be set up if necessary during emergency response to hazardous chemical spills.
  5. Personal protective clothing:
    1. Respiratory protection: Various models of half-face/full-face respirators with cartridges for organic vapors/acid gas, HEPA dust protection and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) are available for use by emergency response team members.
    2. Chemically resistant gloves: Silver Shield, Viton, Butyl, N-Butyl Rubber, Neoprene Heat/Cold resist, Nitrile gloves with permeation degradation resistance guides, disposable Nitrile Latex and Vinyl gloves.
    3. Chemically resistant clothing: Chemrel Coveralls, Chem-Tuff Coveralls, Saranex Coated Tyvek Coveralls, Chemrel Booties along with tape for sealing gloves and boots.
  6. Storage containers:
    1. 55-gallon open head high density polyethylene (HDPE) drums
    2. 55-gallon open head steel drums (DOT-17H)
    3. 30-gallon open head steel drums (DOT-17H)
    4. 5-gallon HDPE pails
    5. Polyethylene bags
  7. Tools and miscellaneous supplies: Various tools to aid in the cleanup of chemical spills such as brooms, dust pans, mops, buckets, shovels, scrapers, utility knives, scissors, tape, marking pens, labels and handling tongs.
  8. Radiation monitoring and decontamination equipment.
  9. Gas monitoring equipment.

Other University Spill Information Guides and Publications:

Guide to Mercury Spills

Emergency Procedures for Radioactive Materials Spills

University Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC) (pdf file)

Guide to Handling Small Laboratory Spills

The University of Mississippi

Department of Environmental Health and Safety

Hazardous Materials Incident Assessment Form




Emergency Response Procedures for Chemical Waste Facility:

  1. Determine what is on fire by location, drum label, inventory, log or other means.
  2. Determine if persons are endangered by the fire or if the fire could spread to other wastes.
  3. Evacuate all endangered persons. In case of release of toxic gases or where there is potential for explosion, determine if off-site evacuation is advisable.
  4. Define the limits of the fire. Estimate the potential dangers due to location with respect to other wastes in the immediate vicinity.
  5. Firefighting personnel are to wear full protective clothing and appropriate breathing apparatus.
  6. Firefighting should be done at a maximum allowable distance staying upwind and from a protected location, if possible.
  7. All fires shall be dealt with using fog protection (i.e., water spray). Small fires such as a single drum fire may be approached with portable extinguishers, dirt or sand to extinguish flames by smothering.
  8. All large fires will require fog line protection with approaches made behind heavy equipment (e.g., front end loader) to smother fire and protect personnel.
  9. Extra caution is to be taken with containerized material fires for signs of rupture or explosion due to heat releasing hot liquids, flammable vapors or poisonous gases.
  10. After a fire, university personnel will clean up affected areas. Runoff from water used in firefighting should be treated as a hazardous waste and disposed of properly.