Power Outage at National Archive, Where's Nicolas Cage?

July 11, 2019

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

When almost 3.5 inches of rain fell in the Washington, D.C. area Monday morning, it caused massive flash flooding that made the morning commute treacherous.  The city’s emergency services teams said they helped 15 people stranded in their vehicles due to high water.  In nearby Fairfax, Virginia, 55 people had to be rescued due to swiftly flowing water, including some mobile home evacuations.    In all, the area got a month’s worth of rainfall in an hour.

Not surprisingly, the storm also resulted in power outages, including the National Archives building having to close for the day with its main power vault flooded.  The building is home to many of the countries historical documents, including founding papers, the Emancipation Proclamation, and many others. 

While the building is equipped with flood walls to prevent further damage to the building or its contents, the Archives building remained closed Tuesday as utility crews worked to repair the damage to the power vault.  The facility did, however, note that all its contents were safe and undamaged.


Of course, with the Declaration of Independence among the documents housed in the National Archives building, it didn’t take long for the Nicolas Cage jokes to flood the web (short clip at the end of the article for those not familiar with National Treasure). 


But, in all seriousness, while it’s fortunate the outage didn’t damage any of the country’s history, every outage presents some very real risks for all impacted businesses.  Specifically, the surges that typically accompany outages can easily damage sensitive circuits in technology, taking entire business operations offline – potentially for much longer than the power outage itself.  The overall impact could be devastating if business is shut down for days, weeks, or even longer, depending on the extent of damage and availability of replacement parts and technicians.

While businesses can’t do much about power outages, they can avoid the extreme costs of damaged equipment by installing power protection systems.  They are designed specifically to protect powered equipment from surges, spikes and other power anomalies by regulating line voltage before it hits the systems.  They also function as UPS systems, which provide backup runtime, long enough to manually shut systems down to avoid data loss, or even to keep businesses operational with extended runtime units.

Edited by Erik Linask