There is always the potential in laboratory work for unwanted events to happen. Human error is still possible in a laboratory even when hazards are recognized, assessed, and minimized. Preparing for emergencies is critical for mitigating the effects of any exposure or damage that might occur.
Most basic to preparing for emergencies is working in a laboratory equipped with all the required emergency response equipment – fire extinguishers, eye washes and showers, spill kits, gas shut off valves, etc. Secondly, it is not sufficient to simply have the equipment and know the location – the equipment must be inspected and tested regularly. The final step in preparing for emergencies is to train and drill on using emergency equipment if use is expected. Emergency response should evoke brain “muscle memory” that only comes from training and practice. Depending on the laboratory, evacuation may be the response expected and so the turns on evacuation routes should memorized in preparation for a chaotic situation