utility outage

Utility failures include power outages, gas leaks/unusual odors, flooding/plumbing problems, loss of heat during cold season, broken or malfunctioning life safety equipment. Utility failures can present a range of serious hazards and challenges on a large university campus. From laboratories with critical research functions to dormitories that house hundreds of students, a sudden power outage can present major risks to safety and wellness. The following information is intended as a guide for UMass Amherst students, faculty, staff, and visitors to both prepare in advance for various utility failures and to respond appropriately if they occur.

If there is a life-threatening emergency, call UMPD (413-545-3111) or 911 immediately

If there isn’t an emergency, contact Facilities Services Center to report the outage (413-545-6401).

  • Provide them with as much information as possible including your name, location (room number and building), and nature of the incident.
  • Follow any instructions you receive from Facilities & Campus Services personnel

UTILITY OUTAGE (power, water, heat, etc)

  • If there is no imminent danger, remain calm and stay where you are. Faculty should instruct the class/lecture to remain in place and await the restoration of power. Most power outages on campus don’t last long.
  • Pay close attention to UMass Amherst Alerts.
  • If you do not have any emergency lighting in your area, secure your area and move to a location of the building that does.
  • Take the appropriate action to protect sensitive equipment. A power surge may occur when the electricity is restored.
  • Do not light candles or other types of flames for lighting; use flashlights to light up your way out of the building.
  • If you are in an elevator that stops working, stay calm. The elevator should return to ground floor under emergency power and the doors will open automatically. Use the intercom or the emergency button inside the elevator to notify the UMPD if you are not able to exit the elevator.
  • The electronic access control systems that secure all residence halls and most administrative buildings have a battery backup system and will generally operate in a power outage for 4 to 6 hours.
  • If asked to evacuate, secure any sensitive equipment if it is safe to do so, and evacuate. Consult Evacuation Procedures for additional information.

 Special Considerations for Laboratories