How to Prepare for a Power Failure in a Lab
Last Updated: September 15, 2016 2:13:17 PM PDT
Learn what to do before, during, and after a power failure in a lab.
- Designate an emergency contact person for your lab. This person should be available for contact 24 hours a day.
- Give the contact's information to your Area Safety Coordinator.
- Post emergency contact phone numbers on the lab safety sign in the hallway outside your lab.
- Equip your emergency/spill kit with a battery powered flashlight.
- Do not leave open chemicals in the fume hood when the fume hood is unattended. Always safely store chemicals after use.
- Put essential equipment on emergency power circuits. These circuits have red cover plates and are powered by an emergency generator at each lab building.
- Install appropriately-sized surge protection devices for all sensitive or expensive electronics.
- Consult with Facilities Management, (858) 534-2930, if you need to install an uninterruptible power source (ups) or other backup electrical systems or equipment.
- Make a list of equipment that must be reset, reprogrammed, restarted, or recalibrated once power returns.
- Post the list in a conspicuous place.
- Program equipment that operates unattended to shut down safely during a power failure and not restart automatically when power returns.
- Identify an emergency source of dry ice, if you have items that must be kept cold.
- Note: Refrigerators and freezers will maintain their temperature for several hours if they are not opened.
- Do not use dry ice in walk-in refrigerators or other confined areas.
- Shut down experiments that involve hazardous materials.
- Make sure experiments are stable and won't create uncontrolled hazards.
- Check fume hoods and biosafety cabinets and take the following precautions, if applicable:
- Stop any operations that may be emitting hazardous vapors, fumes, or infectious agents.
- Securely cap any open containers.
- Close fume hood and biosafety cabinet sashes.
- Check equipment on emergency power to ensure it's running properly.
- Note: It may take 20 to 30 seconds for emergency power to activate after a power failure.
- Reduce electrical use and risk of power surges by:
- Disconnecting from emergency outlets equipment that runs unattended, and
- Turning off unnecessary lights and equipment.
- Transfer vulnerable items from cold rooms and refrigerators that have lost power to equipment served by emergency power.
- Check equipment.
- Reset and restart equipment.
- If building systems, including fume hoods, fail to restart or operate correctly, contact Facilities Management Customer Relations Service Referral Desk, (858) 534-2930.
- If non-building equipment fails to restart or operate correctly, contact the manufacturer or service provider.
- Confirm air flow in your fume hood is restored.
- Recalibrate and reprogram equipment as necessary.
- Keep doors closed on refrigerators and freezers that failed until they have been repaired and returned to safe working temperature.
- Note: Some refrigerators and freezers require a manual restart.
- If system or equipment failures create hazardous conditions, immediately notify: