Emergency Procedures for Power Loss


For public safety, it may be necessary for PGE to turn off electricity when gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, are forecasted. This is called a “Public Safety Power Shutoff” or “PSPS Event.” ~Pacific Gas and Electric

How to prepare for a PSPS event?  Review and plan before power is lost.

Student and Employee Personal Preparedness Resources

For campus residents, use only battery powered emergency lighting.  Prevent fires, do not use candles for emergency lighting. 


  • Sign up for campus CruzAlerts
  • Put electronics in power saving mode
  • Stock enough non-perishable and non-cook items for the anticipated duration of the outage
  • Purchase or order your emergency resources before the power shutdown occurs
  • Unplug electronic devices to avoid power surge damage, when the power is restored
  • Have emergency lighting (flashlight, headlamp)
  • Build an emergency preparedness kit
  • Fuel up your car
  • Have 3 gallons of backup water (1 person for 3 days)
  • Make ice to chill medicine or foods


  • During wind weather events, stay inside when possible. Falling branches can be a serious hazard during wind related power outages.
  • Prevent spoiled foods, by keeping refrigerator closed. Check foods for bad odor, throw out suspicious foods.
  • Some campus paths may be very dark during outages. Be cautious on trails and be aware that motor vehicle drivers will have a difficult time seeing you.


  • If you have medical devices requiring power, secure redundant power systems (battery backup)
  • Have a phone check-in system established with a family member

Campus Media and Communication Systems

Media, email and phone services may be impacted by a utility outage.  Consider how these may impact you or your campus department.

Source Impact Effect
Landline phones Not impacted
Campus web page Not impacted
Campus Email Not impacted
Campus Network Impacted Within hours, the network will become unavailable 
Internet connectivity Not impacted
VOIP phones Impacted Within hours, VOIP phones will be inoperable
Cell service Not impacted & Impacted Some services will drop, effects will vary amongst service providers

Campus Buildings and Grounds

A campus utility outage will bring unpredictable circumstances.  Buildings expected to have backup power may also experience utility loss.

  • Elevators will not operate in buildings without power
  • Ventilation systems will not operate
  • Exterior lighting will go out, walkways and paths will be dark (practice caution)
  • Blue light phones may not be operable 
  • Street lights and walk signal will not be operable

Unless impacted, building which may remain powered or semi-powered through cogeneration power:

  • Jack Baskin Engineering Bldg
  • Communication Bldg
  • Cowell Student Health Center
  • Earth & Marine Science Bldg
  • East Field House
  • Cogen Plant
  • Fire Station
  • Natural Science 2
  • Interdisciplinary Science Bldg
  • Center for Adaptive Optics
  • Sinsheimer Labs
  • Science Library
  • Thimann Labs

Exterior lighting will be scarce. Carry a flashlight when walking at night.

Teaching and Working

University leaders will determine the practicality of continuing operations.  Follow campus notifications to receive up-to-date information. Department managers, assess the impacts of an extended utility loss and engage your business continuity plans.

  • Determine impacts
  • Prepare a call tree
  • Prepare a communicate plan to keep employees in the know
  • Prevent loss of energy-reliant instruments or resources
  • Determine essential functions/operations, staff accordingly
  • Ensure safety of building occupants 
  • Establish security and access measures when perimeter doors default to 'locked' mode
  • Procure resource to mitigate loss and support response

Stay Tuned In

Follow news and media sources:

  • KSCO AM 1080 Radio - Local Emergency Broadcast Station
  • UCSC Home Web Page
  • UCSC 459-INFO line

Television Stations:

KSBW Television Station
KSBW Facebook 
KSBW Twitter

KION Television Station
KION Facebook
KION Twitter

Standard Campus Utility Failures (non-PSPS events)

In the event of a major utility failure, call Physical Plant at 459-4444 during normal business hours or call the Emergency Maintenance number at 459-4861 off-hours. Do not call 911 unless there is a risk to life or property.

Evacuate the building if the fire alarm sounds and/or upon notification by emergency responders. A major power outage may not in itself by destructive, but a possible resulting panic or fire could endanger life and property. In laboratory buildings, fume hoods do not operate during a power outage and most laboratories should not be used until the ventilation is properly restored. If fumes are detected after the ventilation system is restored, evacuate the area and call 911.

See Also