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Section D.4
University of South Carolina Safety Program Guide


When fires or other emergencies occur in University facilities, several agencies may respond, including the University's Department of Public Safety, the Police and Fire Departments, Hazardous Materials Response Teams or the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. In most instances, the individuals that respond have little or no familiarity with either the building or the specific activities that take place within them.

The purpose of the Emergency Information Poster is to provide an easily recognizable and consistent means of displaying essential information about the status and content of laboratories or other facilities, primarily for the benefit of the emergency responders. Such information is not only important for the safety of emergency personnel, but is often of considerable value in evaluating and mitigating the emergency.

In the absence of current and accurate information, responders may take an extremely conservative approach to handling the emergency and the response may become disproportionate to the actual hazard. This may lead to a delayed response that could result in an emergency of greater magnitude or, at the very least, lengthen the disruption of normal activities.

Scope and Application

Emergency Information Posters are an important part of the University's Emergency Action Plan and are required for any room or space where there are hazardous materials.

Program Description

Emergency Information Posters are designed to provide useful information on hazardous materials, as well as telephone numbers of persons familiar with the operations, within the room. This information is particularly useful during after-hours incidents.

Emergency Information Poster

During an emergency, the poster may be used as the primary source of information about a room or space. Therefore, the information on the poster should be complete and accurate. The information should be written on 3"x 5" index cards. The cards should be placed under the Plexiglas on the yellow poster. The following information should be supplied on every poster:

1. Identification - Identify USC Space- experimental group, laboratory, room, unit or building to which this Hazard information applies and the department or unit using it.

2. Call - List telephone numbers of USC police (for Columbia 777-9111), EHS (777-5269), and Area Facilities Supervisor (for Columbia: 777-3128). Give names, USC telephone extensions and home telephone numbers for at least three people who should be notified in the event of an emergency. These people should be knowledgeable of the hazards in that room. Include the review date and the name of the person responsible to maintain the Hazard Information Notice.

3. Fire Hazards- List flammable liquids in excess of one gallon, show quantity. List all of the flammable gases, strong oxidizing agents, explosives, and pyrophoric metals. If none, state "NONE".

4. Radiation Hazards - Describe any Radiation Hazards. If none, state "NONE".

5. Biological Hazards - Describe any biohazards involving microbes, viruses, recombinant DNA, vectors or other biological hazards. If none, state "NONE".

6. Other health hazards - list materials which could evolve or release caustic, toxic or corrosive fumes or particles. Include carcinogens that are in this area. If none, state "NONE"

7. Utilities - list location of switches which cut off electrical power to the area. Describe any electrical hazards. Describe locations of controls for ventilation in the space\area. Give locations of the controls for gas and water shutoff valves.

8. Other information - any additional information necessary to describe completely any type of hazard associated with the specific work area.

A copy of the poster should be placed on or near every entrance to the room.

Posters are available through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

Roles and Responsibilities


  • Provide posters for all rooms or spaces for which they are required.
  • Remind supervisors of the need to update posters in February and September.

Responsible Individuals

  • Prepare posters for all rooms or spaces for which they are required.
  • Review/Update posters at six month intervals.


  • Provide poster forms.
  • Provide assistance with poster preparation, as needed.
  • Periodically audit Departmental Emergency Information Poster program.

For More Information

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