When extreme weather brings power outages, many businesses are forced to pack it in for the day because they don’t have the equipment to run business as usual. While this may seem like nothing more than a few extra vacation hours, it does take a toll on the bottom line. Help your business thrive in a power outage by stocking up on the following basics:
- Emergency lighting: When the lights go out, ensure that your employees can still see their way around the workplace by providing emergency lighting. This type of lighting automatically kicks on when the power goes out to illuminate workspaces, hallways and stairwells.
- Emergency supply kit: Think of this like a “first aid plus” kit. Stock everything you would want to have on hand in an emergency: flashlights, first aid equipment, nonperishable food and water. Show all employees where the supplies are so that they can help themselves if you aren’t in the office when an emergency occurs.
- Surge protectors: To protect computers from power surges or spikes when power is restored, use UL-listed surge protectors. Surge protectors absorb excess energy and divert it into a grounding wire so that it does not damage electronic devices. To stay safe, learn the difference between power strips, which offer no protection, and surge protectors. While these can look nearly identical, they don’t offer equal power protection in a storm.
- Voltage regulation: Having a plan in place to regulate voltage and protect against power surges can help prevent brownouts. While a surge protector is one type of voltage regulator, it’s not sufficient enough to protect the whole office. Supplies to have on hand include voltage monitors to track power outputs, UPS—or uninterruptible power supply—for desktop computers and servers as well as UPS batteries.
- Back-up batteries and battery-powered communication tools: It may sound old-fashioned to keep a battery-powered radio at work. However, this old-timey device can become an important communication tool if the power goes out. For every communication tool you have on hand, stock back-up batteries. You may also want back-up batteries for laptop computers so that you can continue to work during a blackout.
- Portable or standby generator: A generator can keep air conditioners or heaters running in an emergency, which may mean the difference between working comfortably and suffering temperature extremes. Portable generators move from place to place and can power devices plugged in through extension cords. Standby generators remain in place and are able to power devices cordlessly. Choose which type of generator works better for your business, but don’t overlook this one. Generators do need maintenance and access to fuel to work, so this isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of emergency protection.
Having the right supplies on hand is an excellent first step, but you’ll need to make sure employees are ready for any emergency. Maintain an up-to-date contact list and prepare a phone tree for use in emergencies. Ensure that all employees know and follow safety regulations, and that they know where emergency supplies are located. When you make these behaviors best practices on a day-to-day basis, workers will remember to follow them in case of a disaster. Have a fire drill or other evacuation practical annually.
Just these small measures will provide you with the means to run your business in a power outage. Take precautions now so you can ride out the next emergency with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you were well-prepared.