We are apparently in the middle of bomb cyclone season – USA Today recently reported “wicked” weather was headed to Michigan. Moreover, it explained the state’s largest utilities, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, made preparations to deal with outages that are likely to result.
The article had a number of tips that can help residents survive outages, including tech- and mobility-related suggestions to ensure communications and transportation are available as needed.
- Charge all laptops, cellphones and any other devices that use rechargeable batteries. Think about purchasing a backup charger and get that ready, too.
- Make sure your vehicle’s gas tank is at least half full.
- Make sure you know where your fuse box is located and how to turn the power and circuit breakers on and off. Mapping and labeling each circuit breaker to its relative appliance or room is also a good idea.
Also included were recommendations for emergency kits should outages become lengthy:
- At least three gallons of water per person.
- At least a three-day supply of nonperishable food per person.
- Prescribed medications to last an extended outage.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
- Flashlights and extra batteries.
- First aid kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Pet supplies.
- A complete change of clothing and footwear for each person.
- Important family documents.
- Extra clothes and blankets.
The suggested preparations were limited to residential safety and didn’t address how to prepare a business for potential power outages.
Naturally, businesses should also charge devices, but they should also have a proper power protection system, as well as a generator to power servers and other systems and lights. In addition, companies need to ensure they have backups of their data, following industry best practices. They should have a separate system set up in another location, which will ensure business continuity power and systems are down at the primary site. Cloud services are a great way to ensure businesses remain operational, regardless of where employees can work from.
Companies need to be prepared for these issues before they happen – weeks, months, or even years in advance. Waiting for an outage to happen is too late to put contingency and power protection plans in place. A family can pack up and move out of an area before catastrophic weather hits, but a business has assets and work areas that need to be replicated and protected to ensure proper business continuity.
Edited by Erik Linask