Saturday, November 10, 2012

Electrical Storm Business Preparedness Plan

An electrical storm can spell real trouble for a business of any size. Although direct lightning strikes do occasionally happen, the real threat is when lighting strikes somewhere along the power grid. This can cause dangerous surges along the trunk lines, which can overload and damage your electronics. In addition, these strikes can disable parts of the power grid for hours or even days, cutting power to your business. When putting together your emergency plan for electrical storms, see to surge protection, data backup and backup power.


Surge Protection

A strong enough surge on your power lines can destroy key components or entire systems. Good surge protection starts with your fuse box. Make sure all fuses are up to date and set to break below the tolerances specified for your equipment. Further down your pipe, plug all fragile electronics (especially computers and medical equipment) into professional grade surge protectors. These are available at office and computer supply stores. Though you can get cheap surge protectors, this is an item where investing in higher quality gear is usually worth it. If appropriate and possible, unplug your gear when you know a storm is coming. This is the only way to completely ensure that no surge will reach your machine. When doing so, unplug your telecommunications and cable lines as well as your electrical.

Data Backup

Some of the most destructive damage to electrical equipment is losing the information stored on hard drives. Have backup copies of everything important to running your business. It's best to have three copies of everything: on your working computers, on a detachable data storage device (such as a Zip drive), and on a backup hard drive. If possible, this backup hard drive should be at another location entirely. Many services exist online that will store backup copies of your files for a reasonable price. Also, some network administration software packages can be set to automatically back up your files at regular intervals.

Backup Power

Businesses will require some measures for dealing with a long-term loss of power. For a small retail shop, this can consist of a flashlight and a sign that says "closed due to power outage." For other businesses (such as a restaurant with refrigerators or manufacturing that requires power for safe storage of materials) you will need to have backup generators installed. Most industries have state or federal regulation that act as guidelines for backup power requirements. Check with an appropriate agency for your company's requirements, asking specifically about backup light, backup heat and what equipment it's necessary to keep running at all times.

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