What to Do When... The Lights Go Out

As a business owner or disaster recovery planner, you probably have provisions in your disaster recovery plan for natural disasters or the loss of your data infrastructure because you expect those types of interruptions to cost you a lot of money. But what about when the power goes out?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, power outages cost businesses $100 billion a year.

Here are some tips on what to do before, during and after a power outage to prepare your employees and reduce downtime.

Before the Lights Go Out

  • Know the location of the main breaker switch.
  • Provide your employees with emergency flashlights.
  • Determine which equipment will be affected.
  • Plug computers, phones and security systems into surge protectors.
  • Prepare a list of equipment that will need to be reset when the power is restored.
  • Back up your data off-site and test your backup systems regularly.
  • Keep a generator and fuel on hand.
  • Plan to reroute business calls to employee cellphones.
  • Contact your disaster recovery vendor about a mobile solution for long-term outages.

During a Power Outage

  • Use your backup power source for emergency power.
  • Place generators in well-ventilated areas, as they can be a major cause of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Call your disaster recovery vendor to declare a disaster.
  • Relocate your employees to mobile recovery trailers.
  • Stay updated on how long the outage will last and estimate your recovery needs.

After a Power Outage

  • Refer to your previously prepared checklist and reset equipment.
  • Wait 10 to 15 minutes before reconnecting other equipment to avoid overloading the electrical system.
  • Check your facility of make sure everyone is accounted for and equipment is operating correctly.
  • Review your preparedness plan to determine what worked and what areas needed improvement.

The key to recovering from a power outage is knowing what to do when the lights go out. For more tips, check out our hurricane preparedness checklist.

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