What do you do when there’s a power outage at your business? Maybe it’s your building, specifically, or maybe it’s the entire area. Either way, it’s a serious problem. No power means no work and no customers.
Do you just sit around and wait for electricity to be restored, knowing it could be hours, or longer? Do you close up and lose the rest of the day? You don’t have to do either. With a bit of preparation, you can carry on, even in the face of a power emergency, and save your business. Here are a few tips.
The first step in surviving a power outage is to have an emergency generator. Find out how much capacity you’ll need to run your building efficiently, and get a commercial generator that can do the job. However, just having a generator isn’t enough. You need to know how to run it. When the power goes out, where do you go and what do you do to turn the generator on?
You also can’t neglect upkeep. If there hasn’t been a power outage for a while, it’s easy to forget your generator exists. Then by the time you need it, it’s fallen into disrepair and won’t work. Call someone to perform regular maintenance on the generator and make sure it stays in good working order. Know what kind of fuel it takes, too, and how long that fuel can be expected to last. A gas generator will need to be stored in a well-ventilated area, where carbon monoxide exhaust can quickly dissipate. You may also need to rotate the fuel periodically. By understanding these things, you’ll be in a much better position to keep your power running.
It’s important to know the difference between a blackout and a brownout. Blackouts are easy to spot, as all electricity simply stops flowing, and everything goes out at once. In a brownout, things are still running, but at a reduced capacity. The lights will start to dim, and computers and other devices may start to flicker. A blackout may follow soon after, or it may not. In either event, though, it’s important to be prepared and switch to generator power.
It’s also important to have surge protectors for all of your equipment. In both blackouts and brownouts, the restoration of power can cause a sudden surge in voltage, which can damage your appliances that are plugged in. A surge protector will help dissipate that power and protect them. Note that not all power strips are surge protectors. Make sure the strips you have are designed to protect against power surges.
Finally, for safety, some systems need to be on battery power. Illuminated exit signs, for instance, should be independent of all electrical systems, and continue glowing, so if the power does go out, people can still find their way out in the dark. Likewise smoke alarms should be battery powered. Particularly if the outage leads to some kind of electrical fire, you need to be able to be alerted.
A power emergency can cause problems for a small business, but it doesn’t have to. With a bit of knowledge and preparation, you can keep things up and running, prevent any damages, and ensure everyone’s safety, while you wait for things to get back to normal.
Contact us at Kish Electric to learn more about how to prepare for a power emergency!