Police Department Manual (PDP)

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Effective: 2/19/1980

Revised: 3/1/2010

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PDP 104–02: Major Power Outages

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To provide guidelines for appropriate action in the event of a major power outage

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Arizona State University Emergency Operations Manual

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A major power outage can occur at any time and at any location. The inherent danger during a power outage is confusion, which may lead to panic. Personnel should remain calm, as emergency backup power in some buildings may turn on immediately.

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In the event of a major power outage, ASU Police Department (ASU PD) will take immediate steps to safeguard the lives of all personnel. All departments should assess the effects of the outage; decisions can then be made about resources needed to overcome temporary problems (especially important in laboratories).

For events that may require time to mitigate or have severe impact on the university, it is an option to activate the emergency operation center and begin using the emergency operation plan. Information about the event will be shared using the university notification plan.

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If emergency power does not come on, exit the building as long as there is enough ambient lighting to move safely.Avoid the use of elevators even after power is restored until it is known for certain the power will remain on. If you find yourself caught in the elevator, use the emergency phone to contact the agency’s call taker responsible for 911 calls on the campus where you are.

Evacuation or Class Cancellation

The decision to cancel classes or work will be announced using some or all elements of the emergency notification system. The emergency operation center will remain functional and may be activated to begin using the emergency operations plan.


Elevators present a particular safety issue during a power outage because most are not on the emergency power system. Facilities Management will inspect all elevators affected by the outage for stranded personnel. Any elevator containing trapped personnel will be reported immediately to the ASU Police, the local fire department, and/or the elevator maintenance contractor as appropriate.

Emergency phones in the elevators will transition to a battery back-up system during a power outage. Remain calm and use the phone to notify emergency services of your location and other requested information.

Periodic Situation Checks

If occupants are permitted to remain in buildings, ASU PD will conduct periodic safety checks. Once the safety and welfare of all occupants are assured and danger to property and equipment is reduced, recovery and repair operations will receive top priority.

Special Hazards

Members of the community traveling around a campus when a power outage happens should focus intently on the driving conditions around them. Power outages often affect traffic control devices.

Traffic around the Downtown and Tempe campuses should watch for hazards caused by the power outage with regards to the light rail project.

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For further information, see:

  1. PDP 101–01, “Reporting an Emergency”
  2. PDP 101–03, “Emergency Notification”


  3. PDP 101–04, “Emergency Evacuation.”

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