Power Outage

If You Work in an Office or Similar Setting

If a power interruption occurs:

  1. Remain calm
  2. Turn off any unnecessary appliances, computers, office equipment, tools, etc.  Leave lights on as an indicator of the return of power.
  3. Provide assistance to individuals not familiar with the area.
  4. Remain indoors and in the vicinity of your normal work area.  Evacuate if told by authorities to do so.
  5. During an extended power outage, call Physical Plant at 443-1234 for a status report.

NOTE:  Many campus buildings are equipped with backup power (generator power), which will either completely or partially restore power to the buildings.


If You Work in an Area with Hazardous Chemicals or Other Hazards

If a power outage occurs and personnel are present in an area where hazardous chemicals are used or other hazards are present, (e.g., in a laboratory, paint shop, print shop, art studio, wood shop, etc.), and power is not restored immediately, the following actions should be considered:

  1. Turn off all non-essential electrical devices, particularly if they are to be left unattended before power is restored.  Keep in mind that if no one is in the area when the power is restored, equipment that does turn on will be running unattended.
  2. Discontinue activities requiring local ventilation such as paint spray booths, laboratory fume hoods and biological safety cabinets, and close the sashes to those devices.  No work is allowed in these devices until power has been fully restored and the user verifies normal operation of the device(s).
  3. Ensure that all chemical containers are capped to eliminate off-gassing in an unventilated area.
  4. Turn off compressed gas cylinders at the tank valves.  If an inert gas is being used to “blanket” a reactive compound or reactive process in a laboratory, it may be appropriate to leave the gas flow on.  (The decision to do this should be part of a written Standard Operating Procedure specific to each of an area’s hazardous materials processes.)
  5. Also turn off actively flowing natural gas being delivered to a work area, (e.g., to a laboratory bench top or work station).  (This does not include the main natural gas supply to a building.  If needed, Physical Plant will provide that service.)

NOTE:  If there is potential to breath in chemicals due to lack of exhaust ventilation during a power outage, personnel should remove themselves from the area and contact their supervisor for further direction.

NOTE:  Planning prior to an outage should include a well-defined list of procedures to be used by those working in hazardous-use areas.  It is important to remember that some campus buildings have no backup power (generators) and that buildings with backup power are usually only partially powered in an emergency.