Tips to Prepare your Commercial Facility for Power Outages
Managing a commercial facility is not easy, especially when faced with unplanned challenges and problems. This is why planning for unforeseen emergencies is important to ensure the best indoor experience for your customers and employees, avoid needless expenses, and stay safe. One of the most common emergencies to be ready for is power outages. Yes, you read that right. In our modern world, electricity is easily available and since it is invisible, people take it for granted. Electricity has become such an integral part of everyday life that we do not think much about it — until it becomes unavailable. A sudden loss of electricity, also known as a power outage, can negatively affect everything from working to cooking to seeing at night. However, due to an increase in demands on the electric grid and a rise in severe weather events, power outages are on the rise in the United States. The electricity in commercial facilities is also often knocked out due to storms, accidents, or due to the simple aging and wearing out of equipment.
This article will share some causes of power outages and tips to prepare your commercial facility for power outages so that your facility, electrical systems, and its tenants remain safe until the electricity is restored.
Causes of Commercial Power Outages
It is important to know the reason for the power outage in the first place to have a better idea of when and how it can be fixed. Here are some of the reasons:
Edison Electric Institute states that 70% of power outages in the U.S. are weather-related. Extreme weather conditions such as high winds, lightning, freezing rain, ice on the lines, and snow are leading causes of power outages in commercial facilities as they destroy critical power infrastructure. Apart from this, tree branches contacting power lines and wildlife are also culprits in some cases.
Unmaintained equipment often breaks down, which causes a power outage. Similarly, problematic cables, connectors, transformers, and switches also cause power outages in commercial facilities.
Vehicles sometimes break power lines by knocking over utility poles. Although these kinds of accidents do not usually affect a large area yet facilities served by the damaged power lines in that area suffer.
Occasionally, utility companies turn off the power to undergo maintenance and equipment repairing. This is done to ensure the safety of the crew and to sustain the quality services for their customers.
Preparing Your Commercial Facility For Power Outages
1 - Develop an Emergency Plan
There is not much you can do to stop power outages, but what you can do is establish an emergency plan. Having a plan in place will ensure everyone's safety and that most, if not all, operations keep running normally. Your facility should have a designated area with emergency lighting, good ventilation, and access to emergency power supplies.
2 - Install a Backup Generator
Even if no power is available from the local utility, installing a backup generator can provide enough power to keep activities going in your facility. These generators usually run on fuel such as natural gas and are available in multiple sizes & power capacities to meet the needs of most facilities. Consult an HVAC professional to determine the type of generator you need for your commercial facility.
3 - Protect Electronics
It is also important to protect electronics in your facility. In most cases, power restoration often comes with an electrical surge that can easily damage sensitive electronics. This is why investing in surge protectors is a good idea as they can protect computers, phones, printers, photocopiers, and other electronic equipment.
4 - Turn HVAC Systems Off
HVAC systems have several components and some of them are vulnerable and expensive to replace. Save your HVAC systems by turning them off when the power is out. This will help prevent damage that may occur during a power surge.
5 - Emergency Supplies
A well-designed emergency supply kit can be invaluable during a power outage. ProServices Supply recommends that your supply kit include at least the following:
- Battery-operated radio
- Emergency cell phone
- First aid kits
- Protective clothing
- Food and water
- Fresh batteries
- Vital maintenance tools.
6 - Have An Evacuation Plan
It is suggested to stay indoors and wait for the power outage to fix. However, there may be certain situations, such as hurricanes in which you and other people in your facility need to get out. For a situation like this, your commercial facility must have an evacuation plan so that everyone knows what to do. Keep all important documents in one place so you can quickly grab them on the way out. Ensure that everything is turned off by turning the master switch off from the fuse board and that no gas-powered equipment is running.
7 - Inspect Your Facility Regularly
Your facility must be regularly inspected by you or someone from your company. Ensure that the backup generators, emergency equipment, and electrical units are fine. Keep an eye for potential problems such as loose or exposed wiring, deterioration, or damage. If any such issues are found, address them immediately.
Contact ProServices Supply
We hope this article helped you prepare your commercial facility for power outages. You can also contact ProServices Supply for more information. In case your facility has already sustained damage during a power outage and your HVAC system needs repairing, contact one of our HVAC experts at (877) 776-8228. Our team of experts is well versed with the skills and supplies needed to tackle such situations.