Safety Considerations for Occupants During Power Outages

The following is a guideline for buildings whose primary function is not laboratory research or laboratory education.

Any building where there is a loss of ventilation (heating or cooling and/or exhaust fans) and there is a chance of exposure to a harmful substance because of the ventilation loss, must evacuate immediately.

When a building loses power, it is no longer considered a controlled environment. Emergency power is supplied to buildings to provide for safe evacuation NOT continued occupancy. Unless leaving the building would be more hazardous (for instance a power outage and a tornado warning) review the following guidelines and talk to your supervisor/manager for further information.

  1. Report the outage to Facilities Building Maintenance & Operations by calling 302-831-1141.
  2. Anyone in an area with no natural light like a basement or offices in the middle of the building, should move to an area with natural light or proceed to a safe area after notifying your supervisor or manager if applicable. Long term power outages may result in emergency lighting running out of power and shutting off leaving you in total darkness.
  3. If the outage occurs in a Public Assembly building (i.e. Bob Carpenter Center) a decision for evacuation will be made by the building/emergency manager in charge. Actions may vary depending on the emergency power capabilities of the building. Classes are not considered public assemblies.
  4. Power outages in classrooms or buildings whose primary function is education will be handled like office buildings. If there is no natural light move to an area of natural light before the emergency lighting goes out. The instructor will provide direction to the class.
  5. If a worker feels unsafe in a building during an outage, they may leave for the duration of the outage after consulting with their supervisor. Review the University policy Extreme Weather Conditions/Power Outages Policy.

Please remember that during power outages, emergency lighting and other standby systems are designed to provide a temporary capability for safe egress of the building not continued normal building operations.

If you have any questions regarding the power outage procedures, contact Environmental Health & Safety at 831-8475.