Power Outage—a great test of our emergency response

While power outages are inconvenient for the campus, they do provide for a great test of our emergency response. On Monday, February 6th, at 11:15 a.m., the Vancouver campus experienced a power outage. The campus’ VOIP phones were still working and calls began coming into the Building Operations Service Centre and Facility Managers’ cell phones right away.

In the event of a power outage, Building Operations usually uses a text messaging service to swiftly notify and disseminate information to a campus outage contact list. However, it was quickly determined that the text messaging service wasn’t working so we divided up the list and, within two minutes, all key personnel were contacted. Facilities Managers and Building Operations managers assembled in the Departmental Emergency Operations activation meeting and began to triage the communications and response efforts.

Meanwhile the High Voltage Electrical team was at the main substation to assess the cause of the outage. They quickly concluded that the transformer had tripped and reset itself along with the subsequent feeds. Power was restored within about 40 minutes. As with all power bumps and outages, many systems on campus needed to be reset and Building Operations staff spent the next few hours attending to multiple buildings to restore all systems.