Tunnel System Emergency Response SAFETY 93-1 (Rev. 5/95)


To provide guidelines for response to emergencies in the campus tunnels.


An emergency in the tunnel may involve electricity, fire, steam pressure, or a combination of all three. Three levels of severity can be present.

Level 1: An interruption of services that requires Physical Plant staff response only.

Level 2: Impact involves UW units as well as outside agencies, e.g., Seattle Fire Department. The Assistant Vice President for Facilities Services will be notified.

Level 3: Campus-wide impact - involves the Assistant Vice President for Facilities Services, UW Police Department Chief, Environmental Health and Safety Director, and the activation of the Physical Plant/Facilities Unit Response Center.

Individuals who witness or discover an emergency situation must initiate an emergency response call for aid. Telephones are located throughout the tunnel system for notifying the Power Plant Control Room at 685-1485 (see attached map). Individuals should leave the area if they believe their safety is threatened.

The Power Plant Shift Supervisor immediately will take action in accordance with established procedures to isolate, control, and minimize the problem. As the level of the problem dictates, further action - including notifications - will begin.

Units will respond as directed by the on-scene authority (Physical Plant Director of Campus Operations or the Power Plan Chief Engineer). The Physical Plant Communications Center will provide notification to all units as well as to staff, and will maintain current information on the situation status boards. The area around the affected site will be cordoned off and a single ingress/egress point will be established at a safe distance from the site.


Appropriate response procedures, as well as required training for response, will be in place prior to University employees entering the area. On and off campus units will respond to the ingress/egress point at the site and will coordinate with the on-scene authority before taking any action.

Physical Plant Department Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, Power Plant Emergency Procedures.

Responsibility : Action

  • Employee/Contractor:

    • Initiate emergency response call for aid from tunnel emergency telephone
    • Leave area if safety is threatened
  • Shift Supervisor, Power Plant Control Room:

    • Isolate, control, and minimize the problem in accordance with established procedures
    • Notify authorities as level of the problem dictates
  • Physical Plant Communication Center:

    • Notify units/staff
    • Maintain situation status boards
    • Assist in establishment of single ingress/egress point
  • FS Units:

    • Respond as directed by on-scene authority
  • Other Units:

    • Respond to ingress/egress point
      Coordinate with on-scene authority before taking any action