Emergency Backup Freezers (CUIMC)

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) Freezer Failure Emergency Protocol

CUIMC has obtained upright, shelved -80C freezers that are available for the research community to use during a freezer failure while their freezer is being repaired or replaced. These freezers are alarmed using a remote wireless environmental monitoring system administered by CU Facilities, specifically, Yvonne Wojcicki, Executive Director of Campus Life Safety & Regulatory Compliance. This system tracks freezer temperature and will alert CU Facilities immediately of increased temperatures. The freezers are located in secured (card reader-controlled) rooms.

Freezer locations

  • Black Building, Room 262 (4 units)
  • Hammer Health Sciences Center, Lower Level 2, Room 212D (3 units)
  • Irving Cancer Research Center, Garage Level 3, near Stairwell A (3 units)
  • Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion, Sub-Cellar SC11 (2 units)


  • Only one contingency freezer may be used at one time per lab with the understanding that a freezer may be shared with another lab.
  • A lab may not move or relocate samples from any freezer belonging to another lab.
  • Hazardous materials (e.g. radioactive samples) may not be stored in any contingency freezer.
  • A freezer may be used for one month while the lab’s failed freezer is repaired or replaced. After one month, the department will be charged for use.
  • The lab staff is responsible for packing, labeling, and transporting materials to the freezer.
  • The lab manager or other CU lab staff will work with Facilities for the duration of use.


In the event of a freezer failure:

  • Contact CU Facilities Compliance to request access to a backup freezer at 212-305-8100 via Public Safety. Provide the name, UNI, and contact number of the lab manager responsible and the location of the failed freezer.
  • Follow-up the call with an email (24/7) to yw2366@cumc.columbia.edu
  • The lab manager’s ID badge will be activated for access to the backup freezer location.
  • Contact yw2366@cumc.columbia.edu when the lab no longer needs use of the backup freezer; provide sufficient lead time for emptying backup freezer of contents.

Freezer Repair

The laboratory's failed freezer should be repaired as soon as possible.

To expedite repair of failed freezers, it is recommended that PIs contact A&L Scientific (either directly or through Fisher Scientific), as POs generated from these vendors (the preferred vendor for repair as of 7/9/2019) will receive expedited approval from the Purchasing Office.


If you have any difficulty with access, please notify the VP&S Office for Research by emailing ps-officeforresearch@cumc.columbia.edu.



Name Role Phone Email Location
VP&S Office for Research