How to Prevent Downtime During a Power Outage

June 17, 2013

By Mae Kowalke - Power Protection Contributor

We take electrical power for granted. Our world runs on power, and it is so deeply integrated with our businesses that most of the time we do not consider the effects of a power outage on productivity and overall business objectives.

Yet, power outages occur in more than just India, and every business should have a plan in place to minimize downtime and the impact the outage will have on the company.

This starts with having a plan and educating employees on what to do if there is an outage. This should include training or information on what to do in a power outage, such as when to use the elevator and what procedures to employ when the normal systems are not operational.

The two biggest areas that the plan should address, in terms of productivity, are backup power and Internet connectivity.

The best way to prevent lost productivity is to keep the power flowing even when the electrical company is having troubles, which means having a good backup power system in place. This system needs to be reliable and protect against power overages and underages that can occur right before a power failure, and it needs to switch on automatically if there is a power cut.

Further, it is important to make sure that the backup power employed is adequate for the hardware it is powering, both in terms of load and the duration it can supply power. If the systems using the backup power are not taken into consideration adequately, it is possible that the backup power system will be little actual help when the power is cut.

So it is crucial to review power needs, determine which equipment is essential, and purchase an appropriate power protection unit.

Securing Internet access also is a crucial second step. While it is not possible to ensure that Internet connectivity will remain in the face of a power outage, since the outage may also be affecting the network provider, the changes of maintaining connectivity are improved if there is more than one way that employees can connect to the Internet.

Leveraging the cellular network is the best solution for ensuring Internet during a power outage. Cable broadband may go down with the power, but often times cellular networks can still supply internet. A business should have a plan to set up a hot spot in such cases so all key systems can maintain internet access. This means making sure all systems have Wi-Fi or a way to connect to the hot spot, too.

Finally, make sure that you have a safety committee to take charge if the power goes out. There needs to be a point person to make sure all employees are not only safe, but also productive and aware of the systems in place to keep working when the power goes out.

Edited by Jamie Epstein