Power Outage

Power outage is one of the more disruptive emergency events that can impact the Stanford campus. Power outages can be caused by any variety of circumstances including stormy winter weather, earthquakes, construction accidents or even intentional shutdown by PG&E during a Public Safety Power Shutoff event. In the past, the campus even experienced a partial outage due to a small plane crash affecting nearby power lines. Regardless of the cause, all campus community members should understand how to be best prepared for a power outage.

Emergency lighting is provided in all university buildings for a brief period of time after power outages to allow for safe evacuation. Because emergency lighting is only available for a brief time, areas with no natural lighting will need to evacuate immediately during an outage.

Be Prepared

You can be ready for power outages by taking a few simple steps:

  1. Know how to quickly find LED flashlights and lanterns
  2. Keep your cell phone charged and consider purchasing a solar cell phone charger
  3. Know evacuation routes from your residence, office or laboratory.  Know how to locate the nearest exit.
  4. Do not use candles during a power outage!

For more information, go to:
PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)
PG&E preparedness information.

If A Power Outage Occurs

  • Remain calm
  • Assess the extent of the outage in your area
  • Report the outage to Maintenance Customer Service (650) 723-2281
  • Help persons in darkened work areas move to safety
  • Unplug personal computers and non-essential equipment, turn off light switches
  • Open windows for additional light and ventilation
  • Do not light candles or other types of flames for lighting
  • If you are in an elevator that stops working, stay calm. The elevator should return to a predesignated floor and the doors will open automatically. Use the intercom or the emergency button inside the elevator to notify the University Emergency Operator in Facility Operations if you are not able to exit the elevator. Consult the Elevator Malfunction section for further information.
  • If asked to evacuate, secure any hazardous materials if it is safe to do so and proceed directly to the designated Emergency Assembly Point (EAP) for the building you are in and check-in. Consult Evacuation Procedures for additional information.
  • Response Team members for each area will move through all spaces helping faculty, staff, and students to safety and ensuring that all areas have been evacuated

Emergency Generators

Some buildings on campus are equipped with emergency generators that activate automatically in the event of an outage. If your building has a generator:

  • Become familiar with the location of electrical outlets provided with emergency power
  • Ensure that critical equipment is plugged into emergency outlets
  • Do not use emergency power outlets for non-critical equipment if it can be avoided
  • Have rapid shutdown procedures for equipment not on emergency generator.

Additional Information for Laboratories

Laboratories have special considerations and extra care should be taken to prepare a laboratory for a power outage. Information from Environmental Health and Safety can be found at Preparing for a Power Outage In a Research Facility

Additional Information regarding UIT Systems

Stanford’s campus has many critical digital infrastructure systems and services that may be unavailable during a power outage including but not limited to internet, building keycard access, etc. UIT works as quickly as possible to restore service following an outage, but more information can be found here.

Prolonged Outages

  • To obtain information during a prolonged power outage, check the Stanford Emergency website if you have access.
  • The release of personnel after an extended outage is determined by the department executive.