Emergency Response: An Overview for U of T Labs

August 4, 2016

Emergency response is an important part of lab safety for the protection of the health of the people working in the lab, the health of others in the building, and for the security and continuity of research.

Guidelines on What to Post

Every lab should endeavour to have the following information posted in the lab so that lab members can quickly access the information during a crisis.

  • Emergency numbers – Police, Fire, Spill , emergency equipment failures (e.g. fume hood).
  • Written spill procedures available to lab members for each type of spill that could occur in their lab – chemicals, biologicals, and radiologicals. Specific instructions on procedures for a spill or release of particularly hazardous or odourous/irritating substances should also be available.
  • Quick instruction on what to do in the event of an exposure – chemical, biological, or radiological on the skin, eyes, or injection/ingestion. Some labs may need procedures for laser, UV or X-ray exposures.
  • The street address of the building the lab is in. (dispatchers can not send help if we only know the name of the building.)

Here are some of the numbers for the three campuses.


U of T St. George

U of T Scarborough

U of T Mississauga

Police 911/416.978.2222 911/416.978.2222 911/ 905.569.4333
Fire 911/416.978.2222 911/416.978.2222 911/ 905.569.4333
Major Chemical spill – day 416.978.7000 416.978.7000 416.978.7000
Major Chemical spill – night 416.978.2222 416.978.2222 905.569.4333
Medical Emergency 911/416.978.2222 911/416.978.2222 911/ 905.569.4333
Fume hood failure 416.978.3000 416.287.7579 905.828.5301

For more information see our Emergency Procedures

Emergency Contacts

Every lab should endeavour to have the following information available in the event of an after hours occurrence like a fire or spill.

  • Primary contact home or cell phone (usually the professor).
  • Alternate contact home or cell phone (could be a lab manager, post doctoral fellow, or senior grad student etc.).


Training on internal lab emergency procedures specific to what is used in the lab should be documented when new members enter the lab. An annual brief update (such as in a group meeting) would enhance due diligence.