Utility Emergency

Quick Tip: Utility incidents are not normally an emergency situation,  If you have an emergency, Dial 911 and report the incident immediately. 

Power failure is not an immediate hazard or emergency and DOES NOT normally require an immediate need for evacuation. If you are safe, stay where you are until the full extent of this interruption can be determined.  If class is in session, stay in your classroom unless there is an immediate reason to evacuate.
If you feel you must evacuate or are in an area with no natural light, follow exit lighting and signs or use cell phone light to carefully navigate out of a building and/or regroup in a naturally lit area.  Follow instructions from university faculty and staff. 
Please remain calm while GVSU enacts its power outage plan.  Classroom and facility checks are being conducted to assess the full impact of this outage on University operations.  We will make a decision shortly and send another alert regarding operations and additional instructions.    

Persons needing assistance in evacuating can call Disability Support Services at ¬¬¬¬(616) 331-2490 or GVPD at (616) 331-3255.
Persons stopped inside an elevator can use the elevator phone for assistance.  Report any emergencies to 911.

Secure open science work and move it to a safe location then evacuate any science labs and close the doors behind you. Individuals in rooms or areas that contain fume hoods or ventilation systems should consider leaving those areas until power has been restored.  Keep lab refrigerators closed during the outage.  Follow department lab safety rules.
GVSU building fire detection systems will function normally during a loss of power.  

Dial 911 for assistance with critical emergencies. Any emergency involving a utility (for example: electrical wires, water mains or pipes, steam pipes, natural gas pipes) needs to be reported immediately.

Types of Utility Emergencies

Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or death. High voltages also may be transmitted through materials other than power lines. A wooden pole, a kite, cable or other normally nonconducting material may carry an electrical current.
Always treat downed electrical power lines as if they were charged with electricity. Do not go near downed electrical power lines

  1. Never touch or attempt to move a downed power line or a person who is in contact with a power line.
  2. Don’t drive over downed power lines.
  3. If a downed line is near water, keep a safe distance from the line and the water, even if it is a small puddle.
  4. Be careful not to stand under tree limbs or power lines. Tree limbs can become weakened during a storm but not fall until several hours or even days after the storm. The same can be true for power lines or poles that sustain damage.

Avoid the area as the water may have weakened the soil underground, which could cause the ground to collapse.

Do not go near a leak. Evacuate the area immediately.
Steam or vapor in the air, or excessively high temperature conditions could be indications of a steam leak. Do not go near or touch steam escaping from a pipe, as steam under pressure can cause serious burns.
Natural gas leaks may be noticed by the distinctive odor associated with natural gas. Do not turn on or off any lights or other electrical or electronic devices in the area where the smell is present. Leave the area as quickly as possible. Doors and windows should be left open to help ventilate the area.


  • If a power outage occurs, remain calm and notify Facilities Services at 331-3000 during normal hours or GVPD 331-3255 after hours.
  • Provide assistance to others in your immediate area who may be unfamiliar with their surroundings.
  • If you are in an dark/unlit area, proceed cautiously to an area that has emergency lights.
  • If you are in an elevator, stay calm. Use the emergency button or telephone to alert University officials.
  • Have several flashlights on hand with fresh batteries. Do not use candles!
  • Unplug computers and other sensitive electronics to avoid damage from power spikes when electrical service is resumed
  • Turn off all but one light so that you'll know when electricity has been restored

Page last modified May 15, 2019