A utility failure can occur as an outcome of another incident/hazard, or as a standalone event. A substantial infrastructure failure could result in significant disruption and could cause secondary health and safety issues. Basic services including electrical, water, natural gas, heat, and telecommunications and other information systems may be interrupted.

Water supply contamination, deliberate or accidental, resulting in a lack of potable water could result in:

  • The inability to maintain safe working conditions.
  • A high incidence of illness.

An electricity supply failure, e.g. substation fire cable break could lead to:

  • People trapped in elevators
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Lack of lighting
  • Failure of security systems
  • Failure of IT systems

A telecommunications failure could result in:

  • Lack of access to the 911 system
  • Failure of automatic fire alarm systems

A gas leak should be treated as a hazardous substance emergency.

A boiler heating system failure or distribution infrastructure break could cause:

  • Inability to maintain safe working conditions
  • Excessive amounts of hot water (115 degrees)

Key Points

  • The University may experience a utility failure from within campus only, or during a city-wide utility failure.
  • In the event of a campus wide electrical failure, phones and computers may not work for a short period of time until power is restored.
  • Depending on the situation, utilities may be restored within hours, or, depending on the severity of the situation, may take several days, weeks or months.
  • Clean water is necessary to sustain life.

 Take Action

Try to determine the cause of the failure and whether a building evacuation is required (such as the smell of gas).

 In the event of a minor or major utility failure occurring during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday), immediately contact the Physical Plant Department at 501-450-3196.

  • If there is potential danger to building occupants or if the utility failure occurs after hours, weekends, or holidays, notify the UCA Police Department at 501-450-3111.
  • If an emergency exists, call 9-1-1 immediately.

In any case, be prepared to give your name, and the following information:

  • Building name
  • Floor number
  • Room number
  • Nature of Problem
  • Person to contact or a telephone extension
  • What utility failed:
    • Electricity
    • Water
    • Heating System
    • Telephone
    • Natural Gas
    • Sewer Leak
    • Sewer back-up
    • Other

Electrical Power Failure

  • Emergency lighting should provide sufficient illumination in corridors and stairs for safe exiting.
  • Turn off all light switches. The voltage may fluctuate and damage any lights that are on.
  • Set all equipment switches to the off position. This is to protect against kicking out circuit breakers, or damaging equipment when full surge or current hits as the power comes back on.
  • 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.
  • Close sashes on fume hoods and clean up or put away chemicals.
  • Do not perform procedures using hazardous materials until power is restored.
  • If it becomes necessary to evacuate, secure all personal items and lock offices.
  • Do not reenter the building until authorization to do so is issued by campus security or the proper authorities.

Elevator Failure

  • If you are trapped in an elevator, remain calm.
  • Contact the UCA Police Department via the emergency telephone located in the elevator.

Computer Equipment

  • During an electrical emergency, University personnel should turn off as much computer equipment as possible to prevent equipment damage (if it is safe to do so).

Plumbing Failure / Flooding

  • Cease using all electrical equipment.
  • Notify Physical Plant at 450-3196.
  • If necessary, vacate the area.
  • If after normal working hours contact UCA Police at 450-3111.

 Serious Gas Leak

  • Cease all operations.
  • Do not switch on lights, cell phones, radios or any electrical equipment.
  • Call UCA Police at 450-3111 and Physical Plant at 450-3196 from a phone away from the gas leak.

Ventilation Issues

  • If smoke or odors come from the ventilation system, immediately call the Physical Plant. If, for any reason, that notification can’t be completed, call the UCA Police Department.
  • If necessary, cease all operations and evacuate the area using the general building evacuation route. If evacuation is necessary, follow the General Building Evacuation procedures.