When we think about major disasters, we usually envision the impact and destruction of storms, blizzards, fires, and floods. A power outage isn’t typically seen as a major disaster, however, even a small power outage can cause incredible damage to a business. Most of us in Michigan spend time preparing for the dangers of winter like ice, sleet, and snow, but we forget a power outage can strike at any time, regardless of season. In fact, according to Agility Recovery, 70 percent of businesses or organizations will face a power outage within the next 12 months, meaning you should know your risks, be prepared, and develop a plan should an incident occur. We have gathered together some information on how to handle power outages, and what you should do to prepare before a blackout strikes.
www.FEMA.gov has done most of the groundwork for you in their “Ready Business Power Outage Toolkit.” By following the guidelines that they have set up for businesses you will have your bases covered in terms of making a secure and safe plan for your staff, your building, and your systems. This resource covers almost everything you need to know about how to prepare your business for power outages and natural disaster.
Beyond what FEMA.gov has provided in their Power Outage Toolkit, we wanted to break down the basics and give you a few more ideas on how you can be prepared at all times.
Generators and other technology
If you haven’t already done so, investing in a generator is critical to maintaining business operations during a power outage. One of the biggest issues during a power outage is the inability to work, and as a result a loss of revenue. Before investing in a generator make sure that you have sized it properly for your power requirements. Consult an expert and use a wattage generator chart to determine the correct size needed for your business. It’s also important to consider growth and the energy needs of the future.
If your main concern about a power outage is losing electronic data and important business information due to a unexpected blackout, there is another option that you can consider. Of course auto-save features are going to be a life saver when it comes to an abrupt loss of power, but you can’t always count on them to save that last bit of information that you put in right before the electricity goes out. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) can be a good way to buy a little extra time for your employees working on important documents. A UPS works by plugging it into your computer and it operates on a battery when the power goes out. While these won’t allow you to continue working on your computer all day, it does give you and your employees enough time to save important information and properly shut down the computer.
HVAC and Plumbing
For some HVAC and plumbing systems no electricity means no use. While this isn’t always the case, it’s a good idea to be aware of what your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning will do. Be sure to prepare properly for extreme weather conditions to keep your staff safe during severe circumstances. Buildings with multiple floors should note that they may lose water pressure on upper floors during a power outage. Simply limiting restroom use will help solve this issue until the power is back on.
Investing in generators and specialized equipment will help with the safety of your technology, but what about the safety of your employees? Simple things like educating employees and staff on emergency exit routes, keeping extra battery powered flashlights around the building, and making your staff aware of your power outage plan can be inexpensive ways to keep your staff up to date and knowledgeable about what to do in the event of an emergency. In the end, the best plan is the one prioritizing the safety of an organizations staff.
Fire and Security Alarms
As any company knows, fire and security alarms are important to maintaining the safety of your employees and customers. There is good news though– most fire alarms and business security systems will continue to function during a power outage! The key is making sure that your backup batteries are prepared at all times for an emergency. Fire alarms must meet the NFPA requirements for battery backup. However, security alarms do not have the same requirements, so based on your specific system, you may or may not have backup battery included. Nevertheless, back-up batteries don’t last forever… have a security plan in place for extended power outages where you may be without alarm system power.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to meeting strict compliance requirements for things like fire alarms it would be a wise idea to connect with a security provider that can make sure you will pass inspection. Here at EPS Security, we are well-verse in designing, installing, monitoring, and inspecting commercial fire alarm systems for any sized business. It is required by law that all fire alarm systems have annual testing and we provide this service for our Commercial customers. While we are testing, we can be sure to check on the backup batteries as well so you can have peace of mind that your systems will continue working in the case of a power outage!
While fire alarms are required by law to have backup batteries, access control systems do not. Check whether or not your access control system will continue working without power.
All EPS Security Access Control systems come with a battery backup allowing your system to continue working for a period of time. After the batteries are depleted, you will still be able to exit the building, but depending on the hardware, a key might be required to regain access into the building. This allows you a little extra time for your business to continue working as normal regardless of a power outage.
Whether it’s a power outage, an expanding business, or confusion with compliance requirements, we have a solution for you! Request a quote to receive a comprehensive security system analysis and quote, all for free! Not ready to meet with our team? Take a moment and read more about our services by clicking below.