Whatever kind of business you run, electricity is essential to keep it operational and productive. All kinds of entities run on power, whether they are manufacturing units, commercial offices, shops, hotels or other organizations.
So you can well imagine how baneful a power outage can be for your business.
Even one that lasts for a few minutes can put your operations out of action and even hinder your profitability in the long run. Obviously, it makes sense to have a strategy for dealing with outages effectively.
Fortunately, there are some preventative and proactive measures that you can take for limiting disruptions to your company every time an outage occurs. Let us see what all you can do to gear up for the problem and resolve it if it does happen.
Identify the Potential Causes
Perhaps, the most vital aspect of having a strategy in place is the identification of the potential causes of an outage. Power outages can happen due to a number of issues, which makes it a business hazard that organizations can manage with proper awareness and planning. Bad weather, power station faults and damaged electric transmission lines can be the most common causes of an outage in your area.
These issues are generally unavoidable. At the same time, there could be some internal problems such as faulty wiring and outdated systems that you can easily avoid. Knowing how to be ready for each situation and how to manage them effectively can help you limit the losses to your business.
Create an Emergency Kit
Once you have a list of potential causes for power outages, the next step would be to create an emergency kit to deal with one when it actually happens. Commercial entities like plants and shop floors become susceptible to accidents when the lights go out suddenly. Having flashlights and first aid kit are, therefore, essential.
Additionally, you must have a tool kit and a list of emergency phone numbers handy so that you can call professionals for help immediately. A detailed floor plan of the plant or office is a smart thing to have as it can show the emergency exits along with the shutoff points for electricity, gas, and water.
Train the Employees as Well
While an emergency preparedness kit can be of great value to handle commercial power outages, you can go the extra mile by training your employees. Everyone in your workforce must know how to respond to an outage, particularly from the safety perspective.
This will enable them to ensure safety for themselves as well as customers if they are inside the facility when an unexpected outage takes place. Besides providing them the training, you should also run regular practice drills with the staff. Assess the training process periodically to see if any improvements can be made to the best practices.
Have a Continuity Operations Plan
Taking a step further for preparing your business to handle long and short outages, you also need to have a proper continuity operations plan. Basically, it is a checklist of things and practices that your staff needs to do in case of emergencies.
Obviously, you would not want them to sit idle for minutes or hours when there is no electricity. Rather, you can assign alternative tasks they can pick in such emergencies so that there is no loss of productive hours even when there is no power.
Invest in a Backup Generator
The most important aspect of preparing your business for power outages is to invest in a backup generator that is capable of putting your operations back into action. You can find a range of commercial backup generators and choose one that works for your requirements.
You should have trained people for handling the backup system in the event of an outage. Also, ensure that you have a proper procedure for generator fueling and maintenance that keeps it operational throughout the regular running of the business.
Sign Up for Outage Alerts
Besides the proactive measures such as having a backup arrangement, you also need to have an alert system in place. This is a preparatory action that can actually help you be ready for expected outages. Of course, no one can predict the ones caused by bad weather or unprecedented reasons but you can be prepared for maintenance cuts.
Most power companies often provide free emergency services that alert you in advance about power outages. Check if your provider does offer such alerts and subscribe to them if they do. With such critical information, you can schedule your key tasks and wind up the work shifts to ensure that there is no loss of productivity during the outage.
Get Power Surge Protection
Being prepared for outages is a smart move but you should also be ready for what happens after the power is resumed. It is common to experience power surges when the electricity comes back, which can cause damage to your appliances and electronics. You can get surge protectors to prevent the damage caused by such sudden outpourings of energy and keep your equipment safe. Conversely, you can shut off all the electrical equipment and appliances during the outage if you don’t have surge protection in place.
Install Fire Detectors
While power surges can cause damage to the equipment, something worse like a fire outbreak can possibly happen in the worst-case scenario. Therefore, it is advisable to install fire detectors in your plant or office to handle such dangerous situations.
Besides being vital for outage handling, smoke detectors and commercial sprinkler systems are needed as a part of the workplace safety regulations as well. Have them installed throughout the place, across all departments and on all floors of the plant or office.
Having a proper power outage handling plan in place can give you complete peace of mind, both from safety and productivity perspectives. Therefore, this is one investment that no smart business owner should miss out on. If you don’t already adhere to this checklist, make sure that you do it sooner rather than later.