Businesses can be uniquely affected by catastrophic events and that is why it is essential that leaders of businesses and organizations proactively prepare for disaster. We rarely think about power availability until it is unavailable. Most businesses require electricity to operate and without it, operation can be hurt or can come to a complete halt all together. According to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, weather and climate-related disaster cost the U.S. economy $80 billion in 2018 and have cost the nation about $100 billion per year over the last five years.
About 70-percent of power outages in the U.S. are weather related and the effects of a power outage can be detrimental. Power outages can cause:
- Decrease Productivity
- Disturbance of Operations
- Lost Customers
- Damaged Equipment
- Increased Liability
- Stored Computer Data Lost
- Loss of Product
A report from Frost & Sullivan Research found that in the past year, 50-percent of companies experienced an outage lasting longer than one hour. According to a survey done by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, 98-percent of organizations say one hour of downtime costs them over $100,000.
How can you beat the odds? Be prepared. The time to purchase or arrange for a backup generator is before a major storm or disaster strikes. And, it pays to make sure your generator fleet is properly maintained before storms hit. During a storm or right after, professional assistance may be unavailable, power lines can be knocked down and access roads may be blocked. Procedures should be in place to ensure regular maintenance and that all safe operating practices are followed. Preparation well in advance and immediately before a hurricane can help limit damage, keep workers safe and get you back to business more quickly.
While developing a hurricane emergency plan, assign roles to team members. Also, it is important to establish communication procedures and to compile a list of important phone numbers. Make plans for securing materials and back up your business data. You may also want to review your insurance policies to see if you are covered for water or flood damage.
If a hurricane is predicted in your area, you may need to suspend material deliveries to the site (other than what you need to protect the building, equipment and materials on site). As the storm continues to approach your area, you will want to brace building components, anchor roof panels and cover any large wall opening with tarps. If possible, it is best to move materials indoors, shut off power to reduce the risk of fire, and lock doors and windows. Make sure to give yourself and your workers time to make storm preparations at home as well.
Stocking up on fuel is one of the most important things you can do before a storm hits. Getting fuel can be challenging after a storm hits and it is easy to run out during extended run times. Generac Mobile recommends getting enough fuel to last at least three days. While getting extra fuel, you will also need extra filters. Units after the storm can be running 24/7 and will need to be serviced more frequently. It is also advised that you start the unit before the storm to make sure that it is running properly.
When the storm is over and you can reach your business facility or jobsite, first check for unsafe conditions such as downed wires, flooded areas and structural damage to the building. Safety is a top priority. It is key to ventilate a generator properly. A generator or light tower should be run outside, kept a safe distance from windows and vents while also keeping them away from flammable materials. Before turning units on, check all electrical, mechanical, gas systems for damage.
If you do find yourself caught off-guard, or under-budgeted, before a hurricane, emergency generators can be acquired as contingency rentals. Business owners may want to familiarize themselves with generator sets available for rent and have a power generation company contact on standby in case of an outage. Be particularly prepared in hurricane-prone areas. Soon after the first details of a threat of a hurricane hit the news, other businesses will race to claim a generator as well. In order to ensure you will have your power needs met, it is important to reserve the unit before a storm hits.