Saint Louis University

Power Outage

Electrical Power Outage 

  • Use only a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles!
  • Contact the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness at (314) 977-3000 to notify them of any outages being experienced.
  • Turn off electrical equipment, computers and appliances, and anything you were using when the power went out.
  • Avoid opening refrigerators and freezers.
  • Listen for additional information from the University or the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness. 
  • If the power outage is regional, you can also monitor local radio with a battery powered radio.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
  • If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.


Assemble essential supplies, including:

  • Flashlight (do not use candles during a power outage, due to a risk of fire)
  • Batteries
  • Portable radio
  • At least one gallon of water per person per day
  • A small supply of non-perishable food

Gas Power Outage

  • If you smell gas contact the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness immediately at (314) 977-3000. 
  • Cease all operations immediately.
  • Evacuate the area.
  • DO NOT switch lights or electrical equipment off or on. Electrical arcing can trigger an explosion.


If you have a telephone instrument or system at home or at work that requires electricity to work (such as a cordless phone or answering machine), plan for alternate communication, including having a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone, radio or pager. Remember that some voice mail systems and remote dial-up servers for computer networks may not operate when the power is out. So even if you have power, your access to remote technology may be interrupted if the power that serves those areas is disrupted. Check with remote service providers to see if they have backup power systems and how long those systems will operate.


Keep files and operating systems backed up regularly. Consider buying extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop; a power converter allows most laptops (12 volts or less) to be operated from the cigarette lighter of a vehicle. Also, turn off all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners and other devices when they're not being used. That way, if the power goes out, this equipment will have already been safely shut down. Get a high quality surge protector for all of your computer equipment. If you use the computer a lot, such as for a home business, consider purchasing and installing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Consult with the Information Technology Services Department or your local computer equipment dealer about available equipment and costs.

Food Storage

If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one. (Remember, water expands as it freezes, so it is important to leave room in the container for the expanded water). Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold if the power goes out, by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.


If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.


Keep your car fuel tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it. Sometimes garage doors can be heavy, so get help to lift it. If you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home upon return from work, be sure to keep a key to your house with you, in case the garage door will not open.

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