UG control room misunderstood call in English about toxic substance

The UG control room misunderstood a phone call regarding the release of a toxic substance in Nijenborgh 4 at Zernike on Wednesday because it was communicated in English.

This was revealed during a meeting of the faculty council of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE). The incident occurred at the Stratingh Institute. In one of the laboratories, a rapidly evaporating toxic substance was released, leading to the evacuation of the building.

According to faculty council member Anouk Lubbe, the report to emergency number 8050 was ‘not handled well.’ The person who answered the call did not speak sufficient English and understood it as someone being pricked by a needle. It is not the first time something like this has happened, and it could very well cause serious issues next time, she said.

Disconnected call

She referred to a previous incident where a PhD student dialed emergency number 8050, and the call was disconnected. In both cases, there was no indication that the individuals calling the emergency number spoke poor English or were in a state of panic.

Portfolio manager Esther Marije Klop responded with concern and promised to investigate what happened. ‘The individuals at the control room are a contracted third party. We will speak with those involved because this is an important issue.’

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