​Be Prepared for Power Outages at Your Business

Aug 25, 2017

Disaster Plan for Businesses

Tornadoes, floods, fires and other circumstances beyond control are all possible threats to your place of business and its profits. In an effort to keep your employees calm and safe, there are a few things you can do to be prepared for the inevitable power outage at work.

1. Invest in a Generator

A generator allows you to maintain customer contact throughout a power outage, keeping revenue losses to a minimum. If you determine that a generator is a sound investment, be certain that you size it properly for your power requirements. Use a wattage generator chart if needed to help determine the size that is right for your business.

2. Use Flashlights

When the emergency lighting system comes on and everything else goes dark, don’t opt for candles which are a fire hazard! Instead, use battery powered flashlights when needed. Employees should have flashlights in their workspace and company vehicles.

Items to keep on hand:

  • Batteries and extra flashlights
  • A portable, battery-powered radio and/or television
  • Nonperishable food and water

3. Know Your Exit Routes

Make sure all employees know how to find the stairs in the event of an emergency exit. Even if your building’s elevators run on backup generators, it’s good for your employees to know where the stairs are. For the rare instance someone gets stuck, be sure there is a protocol posted inside the elevator. Keep disabled employees’ transportation needs in mind as part of your emergency plans as well.

4. Fire and Security Alarms

Most fire alarms and business security system will continue to function during a power outage. Verify that your fire alarm systems meet the NFPA requirements for battery backup:

“This standard covers performance requirements for emergency and standby power systems providing an alternate source of electrical power in buildings and facilities in the event that the normal electrical power source fails. Systems include power sources, transfer equipment, controls, supervisory equipment, and accessory equipment needed to supply electrical power to the selected circuits.”

The battery backups in both the fire alarm and security systems from Per Mar are supervised, which means you will be notified when they need to be replaced. Batteries generally last three to five years based on how often they are used (e.g. frequency of power outages). If you subscribe to Inspections, we will test your batteries each time we inspect your system to ensure you get the most out of them. Contact us for more information!

5. Access Control

If you use our access control system as a level of security in your building, know it also has a battery backup allowing it to continue to function as normal for a period of time during a power outage. If the power outage lasts for an extended period of time, you will still have egress from the building even if the batteries are depleted. At this point, depending on locking hardware, a key might be required to gain access back into the building.

6. HVAC & Plumbing

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning will power down during a power outage. This is typically not a huge concern except in extreme temperatures. Employees may want to have coats or jackets available for lengthier periods of time during winter. For the warmer months, keep an eye out for heat stroke.

Buildings with multiple floors may lose water pressure on upper floors during a power outage. In these cases, employees and other building occupants should limit use of the restrooms.

7. Electronics & Phones

If you know a power outage is coming, power your electronics down before it hits. Having a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) allows for temporary access to power so you can shut your systems down properly, avoiding data loss. They also provide surge protection to “help prevent the damage that occurs from both power loss and common electrical fluctuations.”1 Check out this article from TechRepublic on proper steps to take when deploying a UPS.

Verify with your provider ahead of time whether your phone system will work during a power outage, especially when they are key to your business’ livelihood.

8. Powering Everything Back Up

Once the power outage is over, bring your electronics back online in stages to help eliminate potential issues that could occur if there’s a surge in demand before the electric system stabilizes.

Keeping your employees calm, safe and prepared during a power outage at work is manageable! Preparing before it happens - and when you are thinking clearly - is key. For help in setting up your company’s emergency plans, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) website for detailed guidelines.

1. 10 things you should know about deploying a UPS

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