Utility Failures

Power Outage

In the event of a campus-wide outage, Tufts has emergency generators that will immediately provide power to limited areas on campus. To report a minor, localized power outage, call Facilities Services:

  • Boston health sciences at 617-636-3535
  • Boston SMFA at 617-636-3535
  • Grafton at 508-887-4949
  • Medford/Somerville at 617-627-3496

Keep flashlights and batteries at easily accessible locations throughout your work areas and/or residence.

In case of a major, campus-wide power outage:

  • Remain calm.
  • Follow directions from the University Police for immediate action.
  • If evacuation of a building is required, see the Evacuation section of this guide.
  • Do not use candles or other type of flame for lighting.
  • Unplug all electrical equipment (including computers) and turn off light switches.
  • Prior to evacuating, laboratory personnel should secure all experiments and unplug any electrical equipment whose unsupervised operation could lead to fire, chemical release, or other unplanned condition. All chemicals used in active experiment should be closed and returned to their normal storage location (e.g., flammable storage cabinet, ventilated cabinet, refrigerator, or hazardous waste storage area). If safe to do so, provide natural ventilation by opening all windows and/or doors. If this is not possible or natural ventilation is inadequate, evacuate the laboratory until the power is restored.

If people are trapped in an elevator:

  • Notify the University Police at 617-627-6911.
  • Reassure passengers and tell them you are getting help. Instruct passengers to pick up the emergency phone in the elevator so they can provide direct information to the emergency responders.
  • Stay near passengers until police or other assistance arrives, provided it is safe to stay in the building.

Water or Sewer Failure

University administrators will notify the university community in case of water or sewer failure.

A Boil Water Advisory or a Boil Water Order might be issued by public officials due to a water or sewer failure OR due to a water-borne disease outbreak.

  • Place water in a heat-resistant container and bring water to a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute.
  • When it cools, refrigerate the water in clean containers.
  • If you do not or cannot boil water, you can disinfect it by adding 1/8 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water. DO NOT use bleach containing perfume, dyes, or other additives.
  • Boil or disinfect all water used for drinking, preparing food, beverages, ice cubes, washing fruits or vegetables, and brushing teeth.

Gas Leak

If you smell the “rotten egg” smell of gas OR hear a blowing or hissing noise:

  • LEAVE the building immediately, spreading the word on the way out.
  • DO NOT use any phone inside the building.
  • DO NOT turn on or off any electric lights or appliances.
  • DO NOT open or close the windows.
  • DO NOT try to shut off the gas.
  • DO NOT light candles or other type of flame for lighting.
  • Notify the University Police at 617-627-6911 AFTER leaving the building.
  • DO NOT re-enter the building until authorized to do so by the University Police

An individual exposed to natural gas for a prolonged period of time might experience the following symptoms: dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headache, and irregular breathing. Exposure to extremely high levels of natural gas can cause loss of consciousness or even death.

  • Take the victim outside immediately.
  • Call the University Police at 617-627-6911 to activate EMS.
  • If the victim is unresponsive or not breathing normally, perform CPR.

Data or Telephone Network Failure

Communications networks may fail due to technological malfunction, or may be damaged or overwhelmed during a disaster.

Data network incidents and failure:

  • To report a routine data network problem submit an incident on-line at it.tufts.edu or contact the TTS Service Desk via phone at 617-627-3376.

Phone network incidents and failure:

  • If the campus phone system is not working, use a wireless phone to call 617-627-6911 for University Police, or dial 911 for emergency assistance.
  • Program the full 10-digit emergency number into your wireless phone, as well as the non-emergency number for your particular Tufts campus.
  • When phone lines are down or overwhelmed, use alternative communication methods, such as email, instant messaging or SMS text messaging.
  • Have a family emergency plan which includes an out-of-town contact. After a disaster it might actually be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town.
  • To report a routine telephone network problem contact the TTS Service Desk via phone at 617-627-3376 or via email at it@tufts.edu.