Skip to main content
ESH Manual Page: 3000: Emergency Prevention and Management
1.0 POLICY

The Sanford Underground Research Facility (hereafter referred to as SURF or Sanford Lab) is to establish a level of fire prevention and protection capability sufficient to minimize loss from fire and related hazards consistent with regulatory and consensus standards. Where practicable, ‘Highly Protected Risk’ criteria typical of the best protected class of industrial risks will be applied as a best practice.

2.0 SCOPE

The fire protection program encompasses all aspects of fire protection at the Sanford Lab. The program includes fire prevention practices and procedures, quality construction, protecting buildings and facilities with fixed fire detection and suppression systems, procedures for testing and maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment, providing fire fighting devices as appropriate, providing adequate water supplies for fire control, and most importantly, participation by all site personnel from the executive director to visitors.

This policy and supporting program apply to all employees, users, visiting scientists, contractors, and guests of the Sanford Laboratory, and provides specific requirements, duties, conditions and actions intended to preserve life, property and the environment from exposure to fire hazards.

3.0 RESPONSIBILITIES

The Laboratory Director is responsible for:

  • All aspects of the fire protection program at the Sanford Lab,
  • Delegating functional responsibility for specific elements of the fire protection program as described below, and
  • Assuring adequate resources are available to carry out the fire protection program.

The EHS Department Director is responsible for guidance and oversight of the fire protection program. Through delegation to EHS Department staff, the EHS Director will provide for:

  • Conduct of periodic assessments of the Sanford Lab facilities to evaluate compliance of each facility with the requirements and best practices specified in this program and that a satisfactory level of protection is being provided,
  • Review of fire protection system designs to assure that applicable fire protection provisions of the International Codes, standards, and applicable best-practices are being met, the installation plan is satisfactory, and acceptance tests are adequate to assure proper operation of the fire protection.
  • Proper documentation of  the reviews and assessments, and
  • Receiving notification by telephone per established procedures, regardless of day or time, of all significant fire safety events involving impairment of a fire protection system and any fire related event that results in physical damage to structures or equipment or that has the potential for endangering personnel.

The Surface Operations Foreman is responsible for:

  • Exercising, inspection and maintenance of surface fire detection and suppression systems, including but not limited to water mains, distribution lines, fire hydrants, sprinkler systems, fixed dry chemical, mobile equipment dry chemical and hand-held and wheeled dry chemical and inert gas fire extinguishers, and
  • Assuring that all assessments, inspections, tests, and maintenance of fire detection and suppression equipment are conducted in accordance with the appropriate standard and accepted good business practice.

The Underground Operations Foreman is responsible for:

  • Exercising, inspection and maintenance of underground fire detection and suppression systems, including but not limited to underground fire protection in-feed water lines, sprinkler systems, fixed dry chemical, mobile equipment dry chemical, hand-held and wheeled dry chemical and inert gas fire extinguishers, and
  • Assuring that all assessments, inspections, tests, and maintenance of fire detection and suppression equipment are conducted in accordance with the appropriate standard and accepted good business practice.

Project Managers are responsible for, in areas for which they have accountability,  assuring that fire prevention practices are followed and that fire detection and fire suppression systems are adequate for the hazards present, are designed and installed in accordance with applicable codes and standards, and are maintained in good repair.

Facility Maintenance Technicians (FMT’s) are responsible for day-to-day inspection, testing and maintenance for all installed fire protection systems throughout the Laboratory.

The Industrial Hygienist is clerically responsible for all hand-held and wheeled fire extinguishers.

Science Tenant Site Managers are responsible for the fire safe planning, construction, installation and management of any experiment-specific fire detection and fire suppression systems and for implementing and conducting good fire prevention practices in areas for which they have accountability.

Site Personnel, Contractors, and Science Tenants are responsible for:

  • Maintaining a fire safe environment,
  • Conducting equipment pre-use and monthly fire extinguisher inspection in their areas of operation,
  • Safe storage of combustible and flammable materials,
  • Location, use and management of ignition sources,
  • Housekeeping,
    • Complying with fire safety requirements of Job Hazard Analyses, Safe Work Permits, and other work authorization documents, and
    • Immediately reporting to the Surface Operations Foreman or to the Underground Operations Foreman any condition detrimental to a fire safe environment that they might encounter and which cannot be corrected upon discovery.
4.0 DEFINITIONS

Facility Maintenance Technician (FMT) – Individuals trained in the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems throughout the Lab (including water based systems, fire alarm components, and special systems such as dry chemical).

Incipient Stage Fire - A fire which is in the initial or beginning stage and which can be controlled or extinguished by trained personnel using portable fire extinguishers or small hose systems and without the need for protective clothing or breathing apparatus.

International Codes– A coordinated, comprehensive set of building safety and fire prevention codes promulgated by the International Code Council, a recognized publisher of building and fire codes. The primary International Codes implemented by this program are the International Building Code and the International Fire Code.

Highly Protected Risk (HPR) - A facility characterized by a level of fire protection of the best protected class of industrial risks.

FPA – National Fire Protection Association – An organization dedicated to fire safety through creating consensus standards and codes captured in the set known as the National Fire Codes (NFC).

5.0 SAFE PRACTICES

Fire prevention issues are significantly addressed by separating fuels and ignition sources, separating incompatible substances, isolating reactive substances, and by properly handling, storing, and using flammable solids and liquids.

Spontaneous combustion issues are present wherever hydrocarbons accumulate in slow or no air movement areas. Waste materials in the form of oily or greasy rags and timber construction located in old mine areas represent spontaneous combustion fuels. Waste materials must be stored in metal containers covered with metal lids and must be removed to proper disposal sites as soon as possible.

Fixed and mobile equipment in the form of pumps, loaders, jumbos, and etc. represent proximal fuels and ignition sources.  Fuel, grease, hydraulic fluid and lubricating oils may leak or be spilled into and accumulate on and in motor and transmission compartments.  Engine heat, exhaust system heat and electrical systems represent ignition sources.  Mobile and fixed powered equipment must be maintained and kept clean. Preventive maintenance addresses many fluid leak and mechanical/electrical ignition source issues.  Mobile and fixed powered equipment shall be supplied with fire extinguishers or fire suppression systems as per OSHA & MSHA regulations.

Housekeeping

Good housekeeping, with provision for prompt removal and disposal of accumulations of combustible scrap and debris, shall be maintained in all areas of the Laboratory.

Metal containers with metal lids and proper labeling shall be used for collection of waste materials containing flammable and combustible liquids.  Disposal shall be in accordance with hazardous waste regulation. Tall grass, brush, and weed growth should be trimmed or suppressed within three feet of any structure.

Fire: Fire, open flame devices and other sources of ignition are not permitted in areas where flammable or explosive materials are stored, or are present, or in the vicinity of operations which constitute a fire hazard.  All such areas shall be conspicuously posted with signage to the effect of ‘No Smoking or Open Flames’.

Open flame devices shall not be left unattended unless they are equipped with automatic temperature controls and cutoff devices.

Storage, Flammable Liquids: Detailed storage and use requirements are found in the International Fire Code; NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code; NFPA 45, Standards on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals; and NFPA 520, Standard on Subterranean Spaces. General requirements follow.

Surface: Class I or Class II flammable / combustible liquids shall not be stored indoors except in approved cabinets. No more than 60 gallons of Class I or Class II flammable / combustible liquids may be stored per approved cabinet. No more than three approved cabinets shall be located in a single fire area. Exception: Quantities larger than 60 gallons may be stored in separated indoor storage areas when such storage meets the requirements set forth in NFPA 30, Section 4.4 Design, Construction and Operation of Inside Storage Areas.

Underground: Gasoline shall not be stored underground in any quantity. Flammable liquids shall not be stored underground except: 1) in tightly closed cabinets away from any heat source. The small quantities shall be stored in safety cans or in non-glass containers of a capacity equal to or less than a safety can. Each cabinet shall be labeled ‘Flammables’. 2) Acetylene and LP gas stored in containers designed for that specific purpose.

Grounding: Dispensing systems used to transfer Class I flammable liquids and the containers involved shall be grounded and bonded.

Cleaning and Degreasing

Gasoline and liquids with a flash point below 100° F shall not be used for cleaning and degreasing.

Hot Work

Hot work in the form of weed burners, grinding, welding, oxyacetylene torch and plasma cutting requires a hot work permit and adherence to the specifications stipulated by the permit. Hot work shall not be conducted by an untrained person.

6.0 FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS DESIGN REVIEW AND EXPERIMENT REVIEW New construction of or modification to existing fire protection systems shall be reviewed and approved by appropriate Sanford Laboratory engineering staff, project manager  and EHS director.

All experiment-specific fire protection shall be reviewed and approved by appropriate SURF engineering staff, project manager and the EHS Director.

All fire protection system designs shall be reviewed to assure that (1) a satisfactory level of protection is being provided, (2) the applicable fire protection provisions of the International Building Code, the International Fire Prevention Code, National Fire Protection Association Standards (NFPA), and applicable best practices and Highly Protected Risk criteria are eing met, (3) the installation plan is satisfactory, and (4) acceptance tests are adequate to assure proper operation of the fire protection. The organization responsible for the system installation or modification or for the experiment design is responsible for documenting these reviews with support from the EHS Department staff.

7.0 EMERGENCY RESPONSE

General

Incipient stage fires that can be safely extinguished by trained personnel with hand fire extinguishers or fire hose will be extinguished and the incident reported as specified in the Emergency Response Plan.

Surface Facility

Non-incipient stage fires necessitate complete building evacuation. Reporting and evacuation procedures are found in the Emergency Response Plan.

Underground Facility

Non-first aid fires necessitate complete underground evacuation. Reporting and evacuation procedures are found in the Emergency Response Plan.

8.0 REFERENCE AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

Standards

The technical basis for an acceptable program is a body of policies, requirements, codes, standards, guidelines, and interpretations. The most recent version of the following is used as primary design standards and condition standards at SURF:

  • 29 CFR 1910, Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHA), General Industry Standards
  • 29 CFR 1926, Safety and Health Regulations for Construction (OSHA)
  • International Building Code (IBC) 2009
  • International Fire Code (IFC) 2009
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) National Fire Codes and Standards (See Appendix A for listing of specific standards.)

Guidelines and Best Practices

  • 30 CFR, Mine Safety Regulations (MSHA), Selected Subchapters
  • FM Global (Factory Mutual), Loss Prevention Data Sheets (For Highly Protected Risks)

Related Documents

Appendices