There are a number of reasons why power may go out, whether a storm has passed through, a breaker has blown or perhaps an unseen rodent decided to munch on some wires. The good news, according to J.D. Power and Associates, is that power outages last on average less than 20 minutes. The bad news is that they are on the rise. And, as much as every company relies on power to keep operations running, an increase in blackouts puts the company at risk.
The idea of power protection was recently the focus of a Peter Li article
in which College Planning & Management's Amy Milshtein talked with Bill Allen at Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News
), a company that is a leader in power technology products, about the various causes of power problems
, and what is at stake for educators should a problem take power down. Allen is the director of marketing for Minuteman.
Power protection is an important point for any organization as data and people need to be protected. When it comes to educational institutions
, they also have research that must be protected. A new 165,000 square foot Integrated Science Center was recently opened by the College of William & Mary and each discipline has its own unique power-dependent needs.
Randy Strickland, project manager of William & Mary, notes that the contents in the building are irreplaceable and an outage without full protection could result in the loss of thousands of dollars worth of research within just moments. To protect the contents of the building, the institution invested in a stand-alone generator dedicated to that building.
Schools today have a full range of choices when it comes to power protection that affects the people, according to John Weaver, marketing director, Gamewell-FCI. They can select from intrusive alarms and speakers to phone trees, website announcements, e-mails and text messages.
It is important to keep channels up and running, but also to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Weaver suggests that school implement a blend of traditional intrusive notifications and graphic interfaces to protect individuals.
Optimal power protection may result from the merging of emergency systems and technology. In fact, Weaver believes this will be a trend on into the future, suggesting that in 10 to 15 years, it will be completely IT-based. Until that time, there are still tried and true methods that are evolving. For instance, schools are paying more attention to their loudspeakers, ensuring messaging are clear and reach all intended parties.
Allen noted that no matter what, power protection needs to be a priority for schools. Putting in a good backup power and communication plan that is revisited every year is a solid approach to protection. Administrators don’t want to think about what could happen without this solid plan, and thus should make it a priority.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin