University of Wisconsin–Madison

Laboratory Emergency Resources

emergency lab resources

  • Cold Room Failure

    Cold Room Failure: If a cold room goes into alarm during normal business hours (7 am – 3:30 pm) contact Joe Oliva, and he will take it from there. You should be prepared to move temperature sensitive material to another cold room. The normal operation for the cold rooms is +4C Temperature and 40% Relative Humidity

    If a cold room fails/alarms nights or weekends before you call anyone, check if this is an isolated (single) cold room failure, or if other cold rooms on floors 4-5-6 are affected. If a single cold room has failed, move your sensitive items to another cold room. If multiple cold rooms seem to have failed, the most likely reason is a failure/interruption of the buildings Processed Chilled Water (PCW), which is used to cool all the cold room compressors in the building. When the PCW fails or is interrupted for more than 2 minutes, the cold room compressors all overheat, then automatically shutdown (thermal overload protection), and must be manually restarted by a Steamfitter.

    If multiple cold rooms fail after hours or on weekends, call the Physical Plant 3-3333 (or 263-3333 from your cell). You will be connected to an after hours answering service. Provide building name (Biochemical Sciences), the building number (#0204), the address (440 Henry Mall), and the affected cold room numbers. You can also mention that you have multiple cold rooms warming up, and you need a Steamfitter to restart them. After you contact Physical Plant, send Joe an email jmoliva@wisc.edu with the same details as above, so he can follow up.

  • -80C Freezer Failure

    -80 Freezer Failure: Should you hear a -80 freezer alarm go off, or notice the temperature display of a BMC -80 freezer reading -60C or warmer, you should first notify someone from the freezer owner’s lab that they have a freezer failure. The contact info should be on the front of the freezer. BMC currently have TWO -80C backup freezers to store items from a failed freezer. There is a -80C upright SoLow freezer in the 6th floor equipment hallway, 6200N. A second upright Revco -80 freezer is kept in the 4th floor equipment hallway . Both freezers are kept ready at -80C. If your failed freezer contents are in freezer racks, the SoLow would probably be the better choice, as it is larger, and can accommodate most types of freezer racks. After you move your items to a backup freezer, notify Joe Oliva of your failed freezer so he can arrange repair. Please note that we should schedule the repair of your freezer asap, as the backup freezers are a “courtesy” and can’t be depended on to maintain -80C for extended periods of time.

    NOTE THAT AFTER HOURS OR WEEKENDS, REPAIR IS IMPOSSIBLE, AND THE ONLY OPTION IS TO TRANSFER YOUR FREEZER CONTENTS TO A BACKUP FREEZER.

  • Building Water Leak (uncontrolled) or Water Pooling on the Floor

    Building Water Leak: Leaking or pooling water from the ceiling or behind/below a sink or ice machine or autoclave is a serious situation because leaking water can do serious damage to floor tiles or laboratory equipment if the water is leaking through the ceiling. During normal business hours (M-F, 7 am to 3:30 pm) contact Joe Oliva via email jmoliva@wisc.edu or cell with the relevant details, and Joe will take care of it.

    After hours or weekends, contact the Physical Plant (3-3333 or 263-3333 from your cell). You will be connected to an after hours answering service. Give the operator the building name (Biochemical Sciences), building number (#0204), address (440 Henry Mall), room number of the leak or pooling water and description of the location of the leak within that room.

    After you contact Physical Plant, send Joe an email with the same details, so Joe can follow up. NOTE: If this appears to be a serious water leak, or a large amount of water on the floor, you can also contact the UW Police non-emergency phone number (264-COPS). This phone number attended 24-7, and UW Police can send one of their third-shift Security Officers to assess the seriousness of the situation.

  • Emergency and Non-Emergency Chemical/Biological Spills

    For Emergency Chemical/Biological Spills, Call 911.