Power failure and trapped persons

When there is a problem with power, it can affect large parts of the local area. Here's what you should do.

Important phone numbers


Phone: 966 (internal) or 0800 373 7550

Fire service

Phone: 111

When you experience a power failure

Power failures may be minor building faults, or widespread failures. Follow these steps:

  1. Notify Security on 966.
  2. Be alert to a possible fire (obvious signs of smoke or fire). Acrid 'electrical burning' smells may point to the cause of the power failure.
    • Is there a fire? Call the Fire Service on 111 and evacuate. More information: Fire and Evacuation
  3. Check on the extent of power outage (one level, building, campus, local district).
  4. Where appropriate, make work safe by closing down experiments and ensuring appropriate storage of hazardous materials.
  5. Staff: Liaise with wardens (wearing high-visibility red and yellow jackets) to consider evacuation.
  6. Locate torches or explore whether you have the torch function on your mobile phone. You'll need light if emergency lighting fails.
  7. Switch off machinery/equipment at its power source (otherwise it will start up again once power is restored).
  8. Labs: Open windows to vent fumes as fume cupboard will have shut down.
  9. Check for people trapped in lifts and other enclosed spaces (chillers, toilets etc).
    • Stuck in a lift? Don’t panic. Use the emergency phone in the lift to call the lift company. Then call Security on 0800 373 7550. If it is a life-threatening situation, call the Fire Service on 111.
  10. Most emergency lighting will only last between 30 to 90 minutes, so evacuate upper floors of the building in this time and assemble at a lower floor or go to a neighbouring building that has power and lights.
  11. Do not re-enter the building/campus without authorisation.
  12. Wait for instructions from University management regarding a building or campus closure.
  13. Some areas and buildings will require additional security measures. Follow the instructions of Security and senior management.
  14. If the building is closed and you are instructed to go home, be aware that normal services and infrastructure may be disabled e.g. traffic lights, signals, automatic gates and garage doors. Consider walking in a group to a designated point to reach public transport or to be picked up by family to get home.

Information sources

News of widespread failures is available on websites, apps and the radio.

Find out more: Information sources.

Trapped persons

Trapped in a lift? Refer to number nine in the list above, under the heading 'When you experience a power failure'.

Trapped in heavy machinery? Even with our safety programs in place, it's possible to accidentally get caught or trapped.

  • If appropriate, stop the machinery to prevent further injury.
  • Contact the emergency services on 111. Request an ambulance.
  • Contact a first aid person in the building. You can administer basic first aid but only if it is safe to do so and there is no further risk to the trapped person.
  • Do not attempt to release the trapped person until the emergency services arrive.
  • Contact Security on 966. Try to contain the scene and remove unnecessary people until Security arrives.
  • Inform Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Phone: +64 9 373 4896 ext 84896
Email: hsw@auckland.ac.nz