Power Outage & Utility Failure

In Case of a Power Outage

  • Remain calm.
  • In the event of a major, campus-wide outage, many buildings have emergency generators which power
  • stairway lighting and other essential building components for a brief time period (usually 15 minutes).
  • After 15 minutes, stairwells may be completely dark.
  • Follow any instructions from University Police or Facilities Management staff.
  • If evacuation is required, refer to the evacuation section of this guide and your building’s evacuation plan.
  • Unplug all electrical equipment, including computers, and turn off light switches before leaving.
  • Avoid lighting candles or using other types of open flames for lighting.
  • Laboratory personnel should secure experiments and unplug electrical equipment prior to leaving the laboratory. Chemicals should be stored in their original locations and all containers closed and sealed.
  • For a major power outage that is expected to last a considerable length of time, the University’s Emergency Response Team will provide coordination.
  • To report a minor, localized power outage, call University Police at (360) 650-3555.

If People are Trapped in an Elevator

  • Tell passengers to remain calm and that you are getting help.
  • Instruct passengers to pick up the emergency phone in the elevator and provide direct information to the University Police dispatcher.
  • Call University Police at (360) 650-3911
  • Stay near passengers until assistance arrives if it is safe to remain in the building.

Water Emergency

  • Notify Facilities Dev & Operations Work Control for water-related problems. During business hours, call (360) 650-3420. After hours, call University Police at (360) 650-3555.
  • If you are involved with responding to a water emergency but have not determined the source, remember that the water could be contaminated.
  • Chemical laboratory experiments and other hazardous processes should be cancelled until systems are confirmed operational by Environmental Health & Safety or Facilities Development and Operations.
  • If there is standing water on the floor, there is a risk of electrical shock. Do not enter the area until you are sure the electricity has been turned off.

Phone Service

If the phone service is not working, attempt to use the University’s computer network to notify Telecommunications at telecom@wwu.edu.

Gas Leak

Natural gas is colorless and has an added odorant that smells similar to skunk odor. If gas equipment or gas piping is suspected of leaking and, if in the judgment of the person or persons responsible for such materials, it presents a serious danger, the following steps should be taken:

  • Immediately notify building occupants to evacuate the area using the preplanned evacuation route. This may be accomplished by pulling the building fire alarm if needed. 
  • Notify University Police at (360) 650-3911. Provide the following information:
    • Building name. 
    • Floor number. 
    • Room number.
    • Specific chemical name of the involved gas, if known.
    • Estimated volume involved, if known.
  • Do not switch lights or electrical equipment on or off.  Electrical arcing could possibly trigger an explosion.
  • Building occupants are not to return to the building until instructed to do so by emergency responders.