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Unplanned Power Outages


View Emergency Action Plan as a PDF

The classification of unplanned power outages depends on several factors (expected duration of outage, time of day, time of year, etc…). In general, unplanned power outages can be broken down in terms of severity and probable emergency actions, as follows: 

Level 1 Outage—those that involve minor impacts to individual rooms or small building, for periods usually not exceeding 1 day. Emergency actions typically include the temporary relocation of directly affected personnel (as necessary) until repairs can be made by Facilities Management. 

Level 2 Outage—those that involve impacts to a small number of buildings for periods exceeding 1 day, or where the outage impairs life safety or heating system needs. Assuming the needs of displaced or impacted personnel can be met on campus, emergency actions typically include the temporary relocation of students in affected buildings to other on-campus facilities, and employees being given alternative work assignments or sent home until repairs can be made by Facilities Management. 

Level 3 Outage—those that involve multi-day or multi-building impacts, where the outage impairs life safety or heating system needs. Assuming the needs of displaced or impacted personnel cannot be met on campus, emergency actions typically include the temporary relocation of students in affected buildings to other off-campus facilities, and employees being given alternative work assignments or sent home until repairs can be made by Facilities Management or the utility supply vendor. 

Aside from the general classification of unplanned power outages from above, there are some other general issues to keep in mind, as follows: 

  1. If you experience an incidental unplanned power outage, consider the following:
    • Notify Campus Safety of the outage by any means possible, but try to do so after consulting with your peers so as not to overwhelm Campus Safety with too many phone calls. 
    • If you (or the students you are teaching or employees you are supervising) were engaged in “hazardous” tasks that cannot otherwise be performed safely without power, you should cease such tasks. A prime example includes the use of hazardous chemicals normally requiring fume hood exhausting in a Science laboratory.
  2. In situations where the outage results in a disruption of life safety systems on campus (i.e. fire detection and suppression systems no longer function), Campus Safety is charged with making a determination as to whether or not affected facilities may remain occupied. In the event the life safety system disruption only affects one or a limited number of buildings, Campus Safety may be able to perform alternative life safety “monitoring” inspections on a regular basis (like ½ hour intervals).
  3. While it is highly unlikely that building evacuations (as traditionally defined) would occur following unplanned power outages that are less than Level 2 in severity, it is critical for all employees/students to stay informed as such an event unfolds. College officials will disseminate the critical information as it becomes necessary and available to safeguard the greater College community.
  4. Level 3 severity unplanned power outages that necessitate the evacuation of the on-campus residential population to off-campus locations (like during a sustained ice storm during the winter months) will be coordinated with officials from the village of Clinton.
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