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With so much of our world now reliant on electricity, a power outage can wreak havoc on our daily lives. In business, a power outage can mean a loss of earnings and leave you open to a surge of angry customers, so what can you do to limit the damage?
Have a plan
Preparing for a power outage begins long before the warning that one may occur and the key to managing one successfully is having a plan.
Audit your needs
Before you can create an effective plan you will want to audit your needs. What equipment do you own that relies on power? Can this equipment run off a backup generator? Do you offer any services which will be impacted by a power outage? Answer these questions to determine the impact that a power outage could have on your operations.
Having audited your business needs you can now begin to identify the areas in which you need to ensure that you have back up. This could include the need for a backup genset generator, a set of backup flashlights in areas without natural lighting, or even backup battery systems for things such as fire alarms and security systems.
Educate your staff
Power outages can cause a feeling of panic and chaos, to help your staff remain calm you will want to show them that you have a plan in place and demonstrate the safety measures that you have taken. Teach your staff what they should do in the event of an outage, be that calling an emergency number or evacuating the building and practice how they should respond in the same way that you would a fire drill.
During the outage
The cause and duration of a power outage will influence how you should act if one occurs. Firstly, try to determine whether the outage is isolated to your building and then notify your electricity provider so that they can log the issue. Your electricity provider may be able to offer you some idea as to the cause of the outage and how long it will take to fix which may help you decide whether to send staff home or to wait for it to be turned back on.
Turn off equipment
Turn off computers etc at the wall when the power goes out, this will stop them all re-booting at the same time when the power comes back on. You can then control the restart of your equipment to stop any overloading.
Communicate to clients via other means
Although a power outage may have taken out your office computers you may still have access to your mobile phones. Try to keep your clients and suppliers in the loop by updating them on your status through social media and via email this will help limit expectations.
After the outage
After a power outage, you may have certain equipment or programs which take a while to reboot. Conduct the reboot process carefully to avoid overloading any equipment.
To ensure that you have everything you need for future outages remember to replenish supplies such as batteries and diesel for your generators etc immediately.