CLASSE Safety Handbook

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Emergency Response

During an emergency, a few minutes could mean the difference between life and death. Knowing what to do and whom to call in case of an emergency could save a life. Emergency phone numbers are listed in this Handbook (Reminder: In emergency, call Cornell Police from either a pushbutton emergency phone, dial 911 on Cornell land-line phones, or (607)255-1111 from a cell phone). You are encouraged to become trained in First Aid procedures by taking a certified course either through the Red Cross, the American Heart Association (AHA) or New York State. First aid and CPR courses are offered on campus by Cornell EHS and Cornell EMS. If you would like more information about emergency procedures or First Aid training, contact EHS.

Please consult the Cornell University Emergency web page.

Alerting First Responders

The first step to take when trying to help an injured or ill person is to get trained responders to the victim as soon as possible. The Cornell Police dispatcher coordinates all emergency responses on campus. In the event of an emergency, dial 911 from any campus phone and have the following information in mind to tell the dispatcher:
  • The nature of the emergency
  • The address and phone number of the emergency
  • The specific location of victim in the building
  • Whether chemicals, hazardous materials, or fire are involved in the emergency
  • The victim's age and sex
  • Any other medical information about the victim
Let the dispatcher hang up first and have someone remain by the phone to answer if the dispatcher calls back

Send someone to meet the emergency responders and guide them to the patient.

What to expect after you have called in an emergency

  • Emergency personnel from Cornell should be on the scene in a few minutes 2442.JPG
  • Depending upon the Dispatcher's evaluation of the situation, between three and five types of responders may arrive
    • Cornell Emergency Medical Services (CUEMS) team of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
    • Cornell Police
    • Cornell EHS
    • (if called by Dispatcher) Bang's Ambulance (a private ambulance service for transport to medical facilities off campus)
    • (if called by Dispatcher) Ithaca or Cayuga Heights Fire Department
  • The injured person may refuse treatment at the scene, but will be asked to sign a statement to that effect
  • If the ambulance is not sent initially, it may be requested by emergency responders after arriving at the scene and evaluating the situation
  • By law, CUEMS cannot provide transport to any medical facilities; that is the role of the ambulance service
    • Individuals treated at the scene may decline ambulance transport and utilize other modes of transportation to seek further treatment at a medical facility (Gannett, Convenient Care, Urgent Care, Cayuga Medical Center, or personal physician).
    • CUEMS, Cornell EHS, and Cornell Police are unable to provide transportation to medical facilities.
    • Potential modes of transportation include: Lab vehicle (see below), taxi, personal/family/friend vehicle, bus, or walking.
    • It is CLASSE policy that lab vehicles MAY BE USED to transport CLASSE personnel to a medical facility in a work-related injury situation. However, this should not be used for serious injuries that require an ambulance in order to stabilize the patient during transport. Such use must be consistent with Cornell University Vehicle Policy, meaning that a driver of a University-owned vehicle, must, among other requirements,
      • not be the injured party
      • hold a valid driver's license
      • be registered with the Unviersity as a lab-vehicle driver
      • fill out the vehicle log for off-campus driving
      • wear seat belts
      • assume responsibility for fines or traffic violations.
  • Under no circumstances will the injured person be charged for treatment provided by CUEMS at the scene
  • If the injury is work-related, the injured person can expect Workers' Compensation to cover costs for ambulance and treatment away from the scene
  • If the injury is NOT work-related, the injured person (through personal medical insurance) will be responsible for costs associated with any ambulance transport and treatment away from the scene


You should prepare yourself for unexpected events by consulting the Cornell University Emergency Action Guide. Such situations include:

You can be notified of campus-wide emergencies by registering your cell phone for Emergency Mass Notification.

CLASSE has an Emergency Preparedness Plan to deal with the site- and program-specific issues. Designated personnel are trained to manage emergencies.

First Aid

While we are fortunate to have help only minutes away, care provided by bystanders before professional help arrives could mean the difference between life and death. While no CLASSE employee is required to provide emergency care to the sick or injured, we encourage you to take First Aid and CPR classes so that you will know what to do if you want to help.

Most locations are equipped with First Aid cabinets that contain all the basic First Aid materials such as gauze, adhesive strips, adhesive tape, scissors, eye washes, breathing masks, cold compresses, iodine washes, cotton balls, triple antibiotic ointment, latex gloves, and cotton swabs. Each cabinet is equipped with a Red Cross First Aid Manual, but it is best to take a First Aid course and not rely solely on a First Aid guide. The First Aid cabinets can be found in the following locations: In Wilson Lab:
  • first floor between the men's and women's bathrooms.
  • first floor outside the accelerator tech room.
  • second floor men's room.
  • third floor kitchen.
  • fourth floor on the first wall past the double doors in the vending machine area.
In Newman Lab:
  • basement chemical room, on the ground floor.
  • first floor, second floor, and third floor, directly above the drinking fountains by the elevator.

Immediate First Aid

The first few minutes after an accident can be the most important. Learning how to help yourself or others in an emergency situation at CLASSE is often a matter of knowing what to do while waiting for help to arrive. The following sections describe appropriate steps to take during emergencies, including how to care for injured people while waiting for help to arrive. The first and most important thing to do is to call 911 and notify Cornell Police that an ambulance, officer and/or the fire department is needed. Then, at Wilson lab, send someone to the loading dock, or at Newman lab, to the main lobby, to meet the responders and lead them to the victim.
  • Remember that some people at the lab are trained in emergency medical care, and therefore may be more qualfied than you are to assist injured people during an emergeny. Therefore, do not feel obligated to assist during an emergency if you do not think you are qualified: untrained bystanders who attempt to help can make the problem worse.
  • Before attempting to help anyone, be sure you are not putting yourself in danger. Common dangers include electrical wires, falling objects, chemicals, fires, and noxious fumes.
  • Do not move sick or injured people unless their positions put them in immediate danger (i.e. fire, explosion, poisonous conditions). People who have suffered spinal injuries can be seriously hurt if they are moved.
  • Cover victims with blankets to conserve heat.
  • Keep emotional and noisy bystanders away from victims.
  • Call the dispatcher back and update him or her on any changes in the patients' conditions.

If you decide to attempt First Aid, follow these steps first:
  1. Determine responsiveness. Ask, "Are you OK?"
  2. If there is no answer, have someone call 911
  3. If you have been trained and believe you are qualified to do so, check the vicitm's ABCs:
    • Is the victim's Airway open?
    • Is he or she Breathing?
    • Is there Circulation?
  4. Check for a medic alert tag.

Certain injuries require specific kinds of first aid treatment. The following sections outline appropriate procedures for several types of injuries.

  1. Have someone call 911
  2. Use the latex gloves in the First Aid kits to avoid contact with infectious diseases.
  3. Apply gentle, firm, direct pressure to the wound using a clean cloth or bandage. Maintain pressure for at least 10 to 15 minutes or until bleeding stops. Elevate the injured area.
  4. Do not try to remove any embedded objects from wound.
  5. If bleeding soaks through bandage apply more bandages and pressure, but do not remove old bandages from the wound.
  6. Wait for help to arrive.

Electric Shock:
  1. Never touch a victim who is still in contact with a power source.
  2. Disconnect the power at the source. Within the building, shut off a main breaker. In the tunnel, activate the crash cord or crash button. This will shut off most high voltage power, except for a few sources which must be shut off manually.
  3. If you can't turn off the power at the source, stand on a dry surface and disconnect the victim from the power source using a long, non-conductive object such as a broom or a rope.
  4. Have someone call 911. If you have been trained and believe you are qualified to do so, check the ABCs (that the victim's airway is open, that he or she is breathing, and that he or she has circulation). If wounds are evident, cover them with sterile dressing.
  5. Wait for help to arrive.

Chemical Burn:
  1. Have someone call 911, and remember to say that chemicals are involved.
  2. Remove any contaminated clothing. Never let the contaminated clothing come into contact with your own skin.
  3. Flush the burned area quickly and thoroughly with lukewarm water for at least twenty minutes or until help arrives. Be sure to wash chemicals away completely.

Heat Burn:
  1. If the victim is still on fire, attempt to extinguish the flames by pushing him or her to the ground and making the him or her roll over. If you can't get the victim to the ground or you can't get him or her to roll, try to use a wet coat, or preferably a fire blanket, to smother the flames. Fire blankets are located on the first floor of Wilson Lab, near the elevator and in the machine shop area.
  2. Stop the burning process by removing ignited clothing and all jewelry from the burn area. However, never remove clothing from an individual who has suffered third degree burns. If extremities are burned, remove all jewelry beyond the burn where swelling could cause the jewelry to cut off circulation.
  3. Have someone call 911
  4. Do not apply creams, oils, sprays, or any other type of home remedy to burns
  5. Give First Aid appropriate for the degree of the burn
  6. Wait for help to arrive

First Degree Burns: Signs -- Red skin, pain, and mild swelling. Treatment -- Have someone call for help. Apply cool, wet compresses or immerse in cool, fresh water. Pat area dry and cover with a dry, sterile, non-adhesive dressing to prevent infection of the burned area. Elevate the burned area and protect it from dirt and friction.

Second Degree Burns: Signs -- Deep reddening of skin. Possible blisters, pain, loss of skin. Treatment -- Same as for first degree burns.

Third-Degree Burns: Signs -- Damage to all layers of skin, including nerves. May be painless. Skin is dry and leathery or charred. Normally surrounded by patches of first and second-degree burns. Treatment -- Have someone call 911. Check the victim's airway, breathing, and circulation if you have been trained and believe you are qualified to do so. If possible, cover the burn with dry, non-adhesive wrap. Do not use water. If the person's face is burned, have him or her sit up. Keep the burned area higher than victim's heart. Keep the person warm and comfortable, and watch for breathing problems and signs of shock. Wait for help to arrive.

Eye Injury:
  1. Have someone call 911 for help.
  2. Do not let the victim rub his or her eyes. If the victim has chemicals in his or her eye(s), quickly flush the eye(s) with lukewarm water for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. Eye washes are located in the chemical rooms at Wilson and Newman Labs and in the forklift area at Wilson lab. All First Aid cabinets should be equipped with an eye wash bottle. Position the victim so that no chemicals wash into the other eye.
  3. If eyes have been exposed to chemicals, remove contact lenses. If a foreign object is in the victim's eye, do not remove his or her contact lenses unless rapid swelling occurs.
  4. If a foreign object is in either eye, cover both of the victim's eyes to assist him or her in keeping them still, and do not attempt to remove the object.
  5. Wait for help to arrive.

Heart Attack:
  1. Call 911 for help
  2. Calm and reassure the victim. If the victim is unconscious, see the following section for unconscious heart attack victims....
  3. Encourage the victim to rest in a comfortable (perhaps seated) position, unless it is too painful to make such a transition. If the victim is having breathing problems, do not force him or her to lie down. It is more difficult to breathe when lying down
  4. Loosen clothing around the victim's neck, chest, and waist
  5. Keep the victim warm
  6. Find out if victim has prescribed angina medication (e.g. nitro-glycerin) on hand, understanding that the victim may be unable to speak (e.g. the victim might point to a pocket if you ask "Do you have heart medicine?"). If you find medicine, assist him or her in taking it
  7. If you have been trained and believe you are qualified to do so, check the victim's ABCs (airway, breathing, and circulation)
  8. Stay with the victim until help arrives

Unconscious Heart Attack Victim:
  1. Call 911 for help
  2. Check for a medical alert tag
  3. Stay with the victim until help arrives

University Closing

The Cornell administration ultimately decides when weather conditions warrant cancellations, evacuations, or closing of Cornell facilities. The Associate Vice President for Facilities and Business Operations makes this decision after he or she has consulted with the Cornell Police, the Superintendent of Ground Care, and local law enforcement agencies. When an impending natural disaster makes it necessary to close the University, you will be notified by local television and radio announcements. During business hours, supervisors will be notified of closings and cancellations, and they will then relay this information to their staff.

You can also check the Cornell University operating status web page.

Earthquake Response

Many of us do not know how to respond to an earthquake because they have been relatively rare (until the Virginia quake in 2011 which was felt in Ithaca). Hence the relevant information from the Cornell Emergency Earthquake Guide is reproduced here:

While earthquakes are not a high risk in the Ithaca area, they are possible here. If you feel the ground shaking, it could be due to an earthquake.
  • If you are in an experimental area, move away from stacked radiation shielding blocks/bricks and unsecured equipment.
  • Duck or drop to the floor
  • Cover yourself under a piece of heavy furniture, a stairwell or a doorjamb (beware of the door swinging back and forth). If that is not possible, position yourself against an interior wall, protecting your head and neck with your arms. Keep away from appliances, large windows and heavy hanging objects.
  • Hold on securely and stay covered until the shaking stops
  • Evacuate the building as soon as the shaking stops, following your unitÂ’s emergency plan and evacuation procedure
  • If you are outdoors, move to a clear area away from trees, signs, buildings and electrical wires and poles. If you cannot get to an open area, take shelter in a doorway to protect yourself from falling debris
  • If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed cautiously. Avoid bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.

After the shaking has stopped:

  • Anticipate aftershocks, and plan where you will take cover from them
  • Check for injuries. Give first aid as necessary. Remain calm.
  • Avoid broken glass
  • Check for fire - Take appropriate actions and precautions
  • Check gas, water and electric lines. If they appear damaged, or if you smell gas, open windows and leave the building immediately
  • Contact Facilities Customer Service at 5-5322 immediately (or 255-5322 from a cell phone)
  • Replace all telephone receivers and use the phone for emergencies only
  • Tune to an emergency broadcast station on radio or television. Listen for emergency bulletins
  • Stay out of damaged buildings

End of Emergency Response
Topic revision: r22 - 10 Jun 2024, RigelLochner
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