Outage Season is Coming: Ready Power Protection Now

March 03, 2017

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

If there was any lesson underscored by the recent bizarre weather—which featured three tornadoes in Michigan in February, and that’s far from the only meteorological anomaly to be seen—it's that power protection knows no season. Recently, the Public Service Company of New Mexico offered some tips to stay safe during a power outage, and power protection methods are certainly part of the picture.

First, the group recommended turning off all the lights—which will be off anyway—except one, which will promptly glow like a beacon when power is restored. Also turn off appliances and outright unplug sensitive devices like computers and flat screen televisions, though this may not be such a concern with a good quality surge protector.

Second, protect food by keeping refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible; food in such storage will stay cold for around four hours thanks to the sheer insulative might of a refrigerator. Consider picking up dry ice if the power will be out longer.

Third, above all, stay away from downed power lines. Even without sparks actively shooting out from one, it's still possible the line is live. Also, when the power does go out for any length of time—it's usually wise to wait 10 to 15 minutes to make sure the outage isn't short—call your power company to let it know where to start looking for issues to fix.

Naturally, businesses have specific issues to address, and many of these can be addressed by power protection systems like uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. With a UPS, not only can computers and flat screen monitors—both sensitive pieces of equipment—be protected from sudden outages, but users can save work on the devices and shut these down properly, instead of just losing both power and data the second the power goes out.

There are other methods, of course; businesses could go whole hog and equip buildings with generators. Green power generation methods like solar panels or wind turbines could even be positive developments with beneficial press consequences. Businesses could even allow for mobile work which allows employees to travel to places where the power hasn't gone out.  There are plenty of options in power protection, but the key point is, don't expect the grid to be up and running when it's needed most. Be ready for those times when it's not.

The time to get ready for a power outage is before there is one. The weather can change at any time—February tornadoes are proof enough of that—and any of a dozen other possibilities can shut down the power. Power protection now is business protection later, and that's a plan worth considering.

Edited by Alicia Young

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