Tips to Prepare Your Commercial Building for a Power Outage
Businesses run on electricity. Without a functional generator in place, the operation of lights, equipment and computers comes to a screeching halt. Numerous events can trigger a power outage, and countless preventive measures can prepare the property manager to handle a power outage.
Causes of Commercial Power Outages
Equipment, especially worn and aged machinery, may at times fail. Natural events like lightning strikes and fallen tree branches that down a power line can weaken commercial electronics or cause faults. Gradually, aged electrical equipment will no longer be able to withstand the demands of use and fail.
Wild animals, like squirrels and raccoons, may come into contact with fuses or transformers, spurring a complete shutdown or lapse in service.
Power lines are often damaged by broken tree limbs.
Weather events, including storms, ice buildup and tornadoes have a dire impact on power lines, causing outages that span several days.
People, too, can bring down power lines. Cars that accidentally crash into an electric pole or construction equipment that inadvertently damages power lines are examples of ways human error can create a power outage.
Power Outage Prevention
Business owners can take steps to prepare for or even prevent power outages in their commercial property. Interference of fuses by pesky wildlife can be prevented. Install fences and protective guards to deter the nuisance of birds and snakes.
Trim trees surrounding the commercial building. High winds will unleash a rampage of flying tree branches, sometimes even uprooting trees, that act as missiles. Standing power lines can be in the path of these projectiles and sustain serious damage. Tree-trimming services are numerous and available.
Before damaging weather strikes, be prepared. Lightning strikes may be thwarted with lightning arrestors installed along high voltage machinery.
Infrared thermography may be used to identify worn equipment before it fails at the least opportune moment. Points of malfunction in equipment are identified with infrared radiation. Once apparent, the electrical equipment may be serviced before failure occurs.
Benefits of Backups
Emergency power can spring from backup or standby power sources. Varying levels of backup power exist. Many commercial facilities utilize backup diesel, propane or natural gas generators. Regular maintenance is required to kick the generator into action when an outage occurs. An uninterrupted power supply (UPS) is similar to a generator and is an alternate solution for short- and long-term power outages. The UPS prevents computers and servers from losing power before the generator kicks in. Building managers need to keep the UPS maintained, as well. Small outages may be efficiently tackled with battery-powered units. Emergency lighting systems should be installed. Flashlights may be used for the short-term.
An Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), which acts as the trigger for the generator to operate, should be installed. When an outage occurs, the ATS transfers power to the generator, which then supplies electricity to the building. Upon the restoration of power, the ATS signals the generator to switch off.
Minor Precautionary Measures
Performing seemingly less critical tasks are equally important when preparing for a power outage. Invest in multiple surge protectors. When the power is restored, the increased voltage that results in power surges may permanently damage the facility’s electronics—unless they are plugged into power strips. A functional surge protector diverts the electrical current from the transient voltage into the various electronics plugged into the power strip.
Fire and smoke detectors should be installed in the event a power surge sparks a fire. Commercial sprinkler systems also help to extinguish flames. Property managers have four options when considering industrial sprinkler systems: pre-action sprinklers, wet pipe sprinklers, dry pipe sprinklers—which feature pipes that do not burst in the event of subfreezing temps—and the deluge sprinkler system (which may put out fires with foam or dry chemicals).
Commercial property owners are also advised to sign up for power outage mobile alerts. Sent to a smartphone, the text alerts notify building managers when power is expected to return as well as offer critical updates.
Prepare an emergency supply kit. Along with a detailed floor map of the building that indicates emergency exits and the location of gas, water and electricity shutoff valves, include the supplies necessary to keep the business employees and possibly customers afloat during the outage. Three days’ worth of water, food and medicine should be assembled and stored in an easily accessible area. Phone numbers of important contacts are to be included.
Prepare your business for the inevitable. It’s not a matter of if power outages will occur, but when. In the event your building undergoes a major natural catastrophe, like flooding or tornadoes, or devastation from fire, contact restoration professionals for commercial disaster restoration. The skilled team of technicians arrive onsite to evaluate the damage and begin the restoration process. Returning the property to a safe and habitable state is their primary objective.
After a disaster, your property may be in shambles, from collapsed ceilings to ruined drywall. Get back to business quickly with the help of construction cleaning services. Not only do experienced restoration technicians clean the disaster area, but they also retain a team of licensed general contractors to help rebuild. Your commercial facility will return to its original state after work is completed by these specialists. All debris and junk are removed. Tools and equipment undergo thorough cleansing with safe chemical solutions. Mold is removed in water damaged areas. Sanitization cleanses the property of dangerous bacteria.
Swift responses are critical in the event of damage to a professional facility. Business losses increase with time, and damage spreads rapidly. A prompt call to a disaster restoration professional helps control the damage.