Crisis management of water damage in May evaluated

Jun 17, 2015 | On campus

Water damage occurred on the evening of 28 May in U block in Västerås. The new management team for special events had then only been around for four weeks. Now the group has evaluated its work and that of others involved in connection with the water damage. The overall impression is that the operation worked well and that the damage was minimised, thanks to the rapid intervention.

- Events of this nature always create problems, but we can be glad that no person was hurt and we got confirmation that our efforts to quickly deal with unforeseen events work well, says Vice-Chancellor Karin Röding.

Sequence of events

A water pipe connected to the University's sprinkler system burst in the footbridge between the U and R blocks and triggered the fire alarm. Water gushed out into the corridor and ran down onto floor 2 of U block. The water continued through the floor structure and down the stairs to the ground floor and eventually down into the basement and into the server room. The sprinkler system is connected to an automatic alarm which meant that emergency services arrived within a few minutes.

Staff present in the University and in the University Library contacted almost immediately the management team for special events via the telephone number posted on the orange notice boards around the University. This was resourceful action and meant that representatives of the emergency group could quickly be on the scene.

Crisis management

The initial phase, involving stating what had happened, ensuring that the work of saving the equipment in the server room had started, and calling for a clean-up company, went quickly. The staff at ITS did a fantastic job, working all night and throughout the whole of Friday morning to restore the production environment with all its operation critical systems and services. By 11.00 on Friday morning all the systems were already up and running again.

The Division of Communications began the information work straight away during Thursday evening via Facebook, the only functioning channel for reaching students and staff. More than 7,000 people saw the information within 24 hours. Once the website could be used again the information continued there. The staff was also contacted by email as well as via information from the heads of Schools and divisions. The assessment is that students and staff quickly got the necessary information about what had happened and what it meant.


A more physically tangible consequence is that the glazed footbridge between R and U blocks will be closed off during the summer as well as the offices and group study rooms located on floor 2 nearest to the footbridge. On the ground floor the Rosenhill restaurant will replace the floor during the summer and the Student Plaza is closed for renovation since the water damage there was very comprehensive on the surface. The Student Plaza will, however, be located in temporary premises in Room U1-025, which is the students' print room.

Internal portal increases accessibility

New cloud services, such as our new internal portal with its related services, for example collaboration spaces and storage options, will in the future increase accessibility since important material can be accessed even in crises like this.