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University prepared for emergencies

Students gather to stay warm and do homework in the MC during a power outage on Wednesday. The outage affected more than 49,000 Idaho residents. SHAIN WIEDERHOLT | Scroll Photography
Students gather to stay warm and do homework in the MC during a power outage on Wednesday. The outage affected more than 49,000 Idaho residents. SHAIN WIEDERHOLT | Scroll Photography

The BYU-Idaho campus and surrounding areas experienced a power outage this morning due to an emergency energy interrtion, according to Rocky Mountain Power.

University Communications sent out a mass text to students, which read:

“S: Power Outage

Classes at 7:45 and 9:00 a.m. have been cancelled due to the power outage. Class will resume at 10:15 unless otherwise notified. If your apartment is getting cold, come to a campus building. To confirm: reply with ‘YES’ and send.”

Later, a second date was sent out to students, which read:

“Due to the power outage, classes are now cancelled until 12:45 p.m. Come to campus if you are cold. Otherwise residents are advised to remain in their homes or apartments.”

According to the University Emergency Notification Systems and Testing Procedures, Everbridge is the name of the mass communication system that allows campus to alert students of campus wide emergencies.

“The Everbridge mass notification system contacts students and employees through email, phone messaging and texting. Emergency messages can be sent to enunciators on campus “blue phones.” Emergency messages can also be sent to the projectors in every class room campus wide, or in specific buildings,” according to the website.

Stephen Bunnell, the Fire and security servisor for campus said the Everbridge system reaches students through the emergency contact number that is listed on their personal student profile.

“To receive a test message, students should go to their student tab on mybyui.edu and list a phone number under the emergency contact information,” Bunnell said.

“Many students don’t fill it out because they are worried about spam or they put an incorrect number. We don’t give out that information; it’s only for emergencies. I would encourage students to fill out that information so they can be informed about what’s happening on campus.”

Bunnell said the university has emergency generators that help power the buildings and they are working on improving this system for the future.

“The university is working with the new construction of the new central plant,” Bunnell said. “They will have what they call co-generation, as they generate heat for the buildings it will also generate electricity. They will use that to power a huge portion of campus in the future. As Utah power loses power, we will still have power in a good portion of our buildings.”

Bunnell said that if students are still without power, they should come to campus.

“Our understanding is that the power is on within the core of Rexburg. If there are students that are still without power, we encourage them to come to campus and seek shelter and warmth within the buildings, especially the BYU-Idaho Center. We have set that as a location where during these types of emergency, people can go for shelter,” Bunnell said.

Marc Stevens of University Relations said the university has an emergency activation plan for situations like this power outage.

“The university has an emergency plan in place,” Stevens said. “One of the first things that would happen, and you saw some of that today, if students needed to come to campus for safety’s sake, they could do that. The BYU-Idaho center has 15,000 seats in the auditorium and there is space in the adjoining gyms. The university can become a place where students can be safe. It would all depend on the emergency, but that’s all part of the plan. There is food on reserve; there is emergency power through generators. It all depends on the emergency, but there is a plan in place.”

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