Entering/Leaving the facility

Animal house 3 UG (elevator 3 or staircase):

Please consider, that the animal facility is a highly regulated area and continously subject to controls by veterinary authorities. According to Austrian laboratory animal act a proper education in the field of laboratory animal science is a precondition for persons who intend to work with laboratory animals. Upon entering the facility and starting your work self independently, you automatically confirm that you are aware of the appropriate rules and regulations and that you show the proper education. If you are not sure that this is the case do not start working. The authorities may always check that only trained persons are working in the facility.

To ensure that the health status (SPF) of the animal colonies held in-house is maintained and monitored effectively, the following procedures for entering and using the animal house must be adhered to:

Entering: Please take care, that you do not enable strangers to enter the animal house, when entering or leaving the facility. We always have to be aware of attacks of animal right activists.

On your way down to the animal house you have to pass several doors, which are protected by card-readers, so that only authorised persons are able to enter. If you take the elevator you cannot go down to the 3. UG unless you attach your card to the card reader in the elevator first. The control light changes from yellow to green and then the appropriate elevator - buttons are activated. Enter the Animal House from the designated lock area in the 3. UG (card reader). The area in front of the air shower is divided by a sit-over-bench into 2 parts.

Before the sit-over-bench: Put off your shoes and whatever you want, store your stuff in the pigeon holes or shelves. Proceed to the area behind the sit-over-bench.

Behind the sit-over-bench: Take on your lab shoes, take your overall from the hanger (if it is still clean, otherwise it has to be changed), put on a mask, hat, gloves and overshoes, which are provided on shelves in this area.

Air shower system: Enter the air-shower and close the outside door carefully (then the inside door is locked automatically). The air shower may be entered by 1 person only. Otherwise there will be no sufficient degradation of germs. Then push the button to start the shower (HEPA filtered air with high airspeed of 30 m/second = 108 km/h). The procedure will take about 1 minute, make sure that every part of your overall is blown off and and that no pathogen is taken into the clean area. Take care of paper and light objects you take with you.

Once an air shower door is opened (inside door or outside door) without subsequent showering, there will be a short automatic air-flush with HEPA filtered air (11 seconds) in order to remove potential pathogens and allergens from the inner part of the shower. During this air-flush both doors are locked. Always make sure that both doors are closed tightly. If for example the inside door is not closed completely, nobody can enter the shower from outside; it is blocked for other colleagues.

Overruling the air shower: The air shower system is part of the barrier and helps us to maintain the SPF-status of our colonies. In no case you may enter the clean part of the facility without showering. Under normal conditions this is not possible, but it is possible when the emergency button is pushed. In this case the inside door and the outside door are deblocked at the same time. After the emergency button is pushed the shower does not work any more and both doors remain released. Once the animal house is entered without showering, the barrier has to be considered as broken down. Depending on the situtation we have to decide then what has to be done as consequence (worst case scenario: additional testing of sera, stop of shipping mice, fumigation of rooms etc.). The same will happen when 2 persons enter the shower room at the same time. This too means overruling the system since the efficiency of the procedure is not sufficient for maintaining the health status.

Therefore please push the emergency button, which deblocks both shower doors at the same time only if there is a true case of emergency and always enter the shower room alone. The air shower system is controlled by an alarm system.

Entering the clean area (blue area): Once the showering procedure is finished, open the inside door and enter the animal house (the outside door now is locked automatically). You are entering the blue part of the so called “clean” area, which means, that all rooms and corridors are separated from the outside world and provided with HEPA-filtered air. The area behind the barrier is divided into a yellow part (yellow wall coat, almost invisible for you) and a blue part (blue wall coat). The yellow part is just for service and maintenance and cannot be entered by animal house users. Please avoid damages of the floor and wall coat (e.g. when moving mobile racks) since it contributes to maintaining the SPF status of our animals. Within the blue area you can work in the rooms allocated to you. The animal rooms must not be considered as isolated contained areas. This means the health status which is valid for one single room is valid for all other rooms behind the barrier. If one room shows a positive result for a specific pathogen all other rooms have to be considered as positive for this pathogen.

Access to the animal rooms and laboratories: Access to the rooms within the blue area is regulated and controlled by an electronic door-opening system (card readers beside the doors), the doors are blocked or deblocked by motor-driven door latches and have to be opened and closed by hand. They do not close automatically. Whenever you want to enter your animal room, attach your card to the card reader and please wait a second till you hear a characteristic noise caused by the motor of the door latch. Then the door is released and can be opened and closed easily by hand.

Air pressure: Inside the animal rooms there is an overpressure compared to the outside blue corridors. When all doors are closed, the high air pressure within the room prevents a reverse flow into the animal room. The overpressure has to be seen as protective measure for the animals in the rooms. Once a door is deblocked with your key card, it is forced open automatically by the overpressure (almost invisible gap, cannot be detected easily with naked eye but nevertheless the door is open).

Releasing a door always means immediate pressure equalization between the animal room and the outside blue corridors, since the protective overpressure will break down. This will happen also in those cases, when you attached your card to the card reader by mistake without subsequent opening the door and entering the room. Therefore press the door against the door frame even in this case to make sure that the door is locked completely. Generally keep the doors open only as short as possible.

Door handles to be used in case of emergency: Almost all doors are provided with door handles, which are protected by transparent plastic caps. Only in emergency cases these caps may be cut off to open the door by using the door handles. Whenever you find a door without cap please let us know immediately. The electronic door opening system may be overruled cutting the caps and using the door handles except for the case of emergency.

Unusual upregulation of air condition: In very rare cases we experienced a sudden increase of the air pressure within an animal room, accompanied by the noise of a strong airstream (rather stormy). This is caused by a specific constellation of the computer regulated air-condition, when adjusting the air pressure and the air exchange rate (15 x per hour in the animal rooms). Then as a consequence of the high air pressure the door latches are pressed against the door frame so tightly, so that the doors cannot be deblocked any more - the motor, which drives the door latches, is not strong enough. This is not a dangerous situation for you, do not be scared, this phenomenon will last up to a minute. Then the air pressure will go down, and the doors will open again - no reason for cutting off the caps of the door handles.

Light cycle program and red light for your orientation: An automatic program provides a daily cycle of 14 hours light and 10 hours dark (6:00 h till 20:00 h, CET - Central European Time = UTC + 1 hour). Since we want to avoid disturbances of the circadian rhythm of our mice, we do not adjust to Central European Summer Time. This means, that during daylight saving time the lights will go on at 7:00 h and will be switched off on 21:00 h. In every animal room there is a red light for your orientation in the room (not enough light intensity for working) during the hours, when the lights are down. You will find the light switch outside the room in the neighborhood of the card reader. In general you must not work in the animal room in the dark period of the light program.

Leaving the animal room: When leaving the animal room please always take the blue door. Open it with an electric door opener, which has to be pushed (no key card required here). The yellow door opens to the service area and is controlled usually by a card reader.

Please keep the laboratories as well as all commonly shared areas and devices clean and remove all traces of your work after finishing.

Leaving the animal house: To leave the Animal House return to the lock area, enter the air-shower, again you have to undergo the shower-procedure, take off your overall and shoes (remove the overshoes every time). Then discard your hat, mask, overshoes and finally the gloves. Swing over the sit-over-bench.

Put on your shoes, take all your stuff with you and immediately leave the Animal House by using the elevator or the staircase.