How To Operate Your Business During A Power Outage
Power outages can happen at any time but when the power goes out during business hours, it can feel like a nightmare. When the power goes out, even for a short period of time, many small businesses can feel a serious strain from even a few hours of being closed.
With weather-related power outages doubling since 2003, preparing for a power outage is essential to keeping your business running. So what should you do if the power goes out in your small business?
Create a Power Outage Procedure
Coming up with a power outage procedure ensures that you and your staff are prepared in case of an outage, and can keep business running smoothly.
Before The Power Outage
- Have a plan: Make sure employees know what to do when the power goes out. Should cash registers and safes be locked? Do customers need to be escorted out of the building?
- Make Sure Employees & Customers are safe: Ensure no one attempts to use elevators or escalators. If power lines are down, don’t allow anyone to approach them.
- Have an Emergency Kit: Have first aid supplies, flashlights, rope, and other basic items. Show employees where the kit is and how to use it.
- Check Backup Systems: Systems like smoke alarms, sprinklers, and safety signage should remain powered. Before a power outage, make sure the backup system is working properly and consider adding a battery-powered backup option for security systems.
- Know How To Operate Your Generator: If you have a generator, ensure someone on staff knows how to properly operate the generator. When operating generators proper safety procedures should be followed to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Invest in Surge Protectors: If a power surge affects your business, you could experience severe damage to electronics. Having a surge protector means you could save thousands after a power outage.
During The Outage
- Call Your Utility Provider: Your utility provider needs to know about outages in your area. They likely have a dedicated line to report outages. If there is an immediate hazard, call 911.
- Turn Off Equipment: If appliances or other electronic equipment is plugged in, be sure to unplug anything to prevent surges from damaging electronics.
- Have Hotspot Backups: Have hotspots or battery-backup powered WiFi to ensure there is still internet access during a power outage. Having access to the internet can help reduce the strain on your business.
- Keep Refrigeration Shut: If the power is out, your fridge and freezer will likely lose power. Food safety is imperative, and throwing out food can be expensive. Keep the doors shut and watch the internal temperature. If it goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, perishables are no longer safe to eat. If dry ice is available, it can help maintain a safe temperature for food.
After The Outage
- Once power is restored, start by turning on the lights. Wait 10 to 15 minutes to turn on any major appliances in case of a power surge.
- Inspect equipment for damages
- Turn off your generator safely. Ensure it is properly turned off to avoid electrocution and equipment damage.
- Keep track of losses. If your small business experiences damages during a power outage keep track of everything that was harmed. When initiating an insurance claim, having written records of everything can help make the process easier.
Power outages can cause damages to electronics, but they can also put your business at risk for fires. If an electrical fire starts in your home, be sure you are prepared to properly put out small fires and evacuate the building. After the fire has been put out, be sure to call a local Charlotte, NC, fire restoration company to help with the restoration process. SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County is here for you 24/7 365 days a year, but give us a call at (704) 840-6112.
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