Guyot and Moffett Health, Safety and Accessibility Improvement Project
The purpose of this project is to upgrade and/or install the sprinkler systems, improve the fire alarm system, improve emergency and egress lighting and other tasks in order to bring both buildings up to the current fire and accessibility codes.
Monday, 11/13/06, the upgrade of the Fire Alarm and Sprinkler System throughout Guyot Hall will start on the fourth floor level with removal of ceiling tiles and grid work if necessary.
For daily updates on where the contractors will be working, see the blackboards in the fourth floor hallways.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will we know when the contractors
are coming to our work area?
This web page will also contain information about the current and projected status of the project.
Walk through the labs and work areas to identify any equipment that requires protection (e.g., sensitive to vibration, dust, etc.). Mark this equipment so that the contractors are aware of it. Environmental Health and Safety and departmental representatives walked through the labs months before the work began to try to anticipate these materials and determine what protective measures are needed.
Ensure that chemical containers are not on the floor, particularly glass bottles. Five-gallon poly carboys can remain on the floor, but may need to be moved out of the way of the contractor’s work.
Dispose of hazardous wastes promptly each month. If needed, make arrangements with Mary Zikos or Michael Fredericks to move chemical wastes into the waste storage area just before the installation begins.
If there are specific concerns about chemicals or equipment that will remain in the lab throughout the project, please contact Robin Izzo at 8-6259.
Will the contractors use hazardous or odorous materials?
Copies of the material safety data sheets for the paint and primer are available through Environmental Health and Safety. Please contact Robin Izzo at 258-6259if you have questions.
Why are we installing
a sprinkler system?
In Princeton’s experience, most damage and spread of the fire is related to combustible materials in the lab. For example, in 2001, there was an electrical fire in a lab in Moffett. The fire spread throughout most of the lab due to combustible materials, including manuals, papers, the plastic light fixtures on the fluorescent lighting, tubing and a limited amount of flammable solvent. The fire burned at least 30 minutes before fire fighters arrived. The lab equipment was a total loss due to heavy smoke damage, totaling close to $2 million. Fortunately, a vacant lab was available and good contingency planning allowed the staff to have a new lab running within a week, but it took several years to rebuild the original laboratory. Had a sprinkler system been present, the fire would likely have been extinguished more quickly and the damage may have been minimized.
What sets off the sprinkler? Will
all of the sprinkler heads in the room go off at once?
Should we be concerned about sprinkler
system failures or leaks?
What about water-sensitive chemicals?
Won’t computers and some equipment
be ruined by the water?
Several years ago, a polypropylene hood containing solvents caught fire in the J-wing of E-Quad, which is equipped with a sprinkler system. One sprinkler head was activated and prevented spread of the fire. As a result, the very sensitive and expensive electronic equipment in the lab was unharmed.
What about lasers?
Wouldn’t a dry chemical
or other non-water suppression system be better?
How long will it take to install
the system in the room?
Will the contractors move or
touch the chemicals and equipment in the lab?
After each phase of the sprinkler system is installed, it must pass certain tests to be approved by the Borough inspectors. First, the contractors perform a test using air at a pressure of 60 pounds over 24 hours. Once the system passes that test, the contractor conducts a hydrostatic test using water at a pressure of 200 pounds for less than an hour. Finally, the hydrostatic test is repeated by the Borough inspectors.
About 95% of the time, no leaks are found during the hydrostatic test. When leaks do exist, they are usually minor drips from a fitting or a loose sprinkler head. Major leaks are extremely rare.
Upon request, the contractor will cover water-sensitive equipment with plastic before and during the test. No work with water-reactive chemicals outside of a glove box should be performed during the testing. The contractor will also supply plastic sheeting to lab workers so that they may monitor the situation and cover equipment as needed.
In order to comply with the fire code, the audible alarm must be at least 75 decibels (dB) and at least 15 dB louder than the background noise. As the decibel level is increased by 10 dB, it sounds to the ear as if it has been doubled. For comparison, normal conversation is about 65 dB, a vacuum cleaner is about 70 dB and a lawn mower is about 85 dB.
EEB: Richard Smith, 258-3867, 106 Guyot
Geosciences: Bob Koenigsmark, 258-4123, 407 Guyot
Molecular Biology: Bill Huston, 258-6205. SB1 Guyot
For advice or questions regarding safety issues, please contact Robin Izzo of Environmental Health and Safety at 8-6259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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