PREPARATION IS KEY
Before the power goes down and the lights go out, there are several ways to prepare your workspace for an unscheduled power cut. Simple measures offered in the following checklist may often be overlooked, however they can really help in getting you and your workspace organised and ready for the unexpected.
- Keep a battery-operated torch to hand. Ensure batteries are checked regularly and kept in a suitable place.
- Protect computers and similar equipment with surge protector plugs and ensure work is backed up regularly.
- Keep useful contact numbers by your electricity meter.
- Inform your network operator if there is certain equipment your business relies upon. Medical equipment, fridges for medicines etc. may always require power or a back-up solution.
Other things to consider…
- Does your workspace require an emergency generator? If so, are the generators routinely maintained/tested and relevant staff adequately trained?
- How will security systems operate during a power cut? Do they have a battery life, or will they need resetting?
- Do you need a contract in place for emergency security staff?
- Do you need an alternative lighting supply? Are you 24/7 or can you survive without lights for a short time? Consider areas such as exits, stairwells, outside and where your meter is.
- Could you install surge protection devices to protect sensitive electronic equipment?
- Within your workspace, are there any team members dependent on lifts? Do you have evacuation chairs?
Dependent on your work environment, getting your workplace ready for such eventualities will pay in the long run. For larger workplaces, it may also be worth considering rehearsing for an electrical outage so that your workforce understands what to do.
With every business operating differently, it can be an invaluable process to put together your own personalised checklist of considerations. With your own tailored checklist, you can be more in control of what and who may be affected and any alternative measures that can be put in place beforehand.
WHEN THE POWER GOES DOWN
As soon as the power goes down, you will need to establish whether the outage is a local problem or one affecting your business setting only. Either way, the following checklist will provide you with some active measures that will help minimise disruption.
Consider the following…
- Can you restore power by operating your trip switch?
- Has something caused your internal systems to trip, and if so, do you need to call an electrician?
- Where is/are your electricity meter(s)?
- Contact your network operator to report the outage.
Once you have established that a power cut has taken place, reporting it on 0800 6783 105 or 105 will ensure the outage has been logged straight away. Once you have adopted these simply measures, you may also wish to visit your own Distribution Network Operator’s website for more information and for further ways of keeping in touch.
OTHER ITEMS TO CHECK
Protecting your business and keeping disruption to a minimum will be high up on things-to-do during an outage. By considering your IT and other electrical equipment, you can really help protect your space so that when the lights come back on, you will have taken the correct measures to preserve as much of your workspace as possible.
- Have you shut down unnecessary equipment?
- Will any equipment need to be considered for a controlled reset or restarted in a controlled order when power is restored?
- Do you need to switch off breakers on equipment that could cause a surge when power is resumed?
- If you use an emergency generator, do you need to order fuel?
- Do you need to inform suppliers, customers or anyone else that you are without electricity?
- Do you need to consider staff welfare issues, e.g. heating, water and food?
- Consider vulnerability of disabled staff. Are they on upper floors? Do they need to be at home?
When thinking practically about your IT, it can be useful to know how long you can manage without sufficient power to your workplace. Computers, iPads etc. will all have a certain amount of battery life before they drain down. Do you have an IT Disaster Discovery Plan? Does it back up your data effectively to the Cloud and how often will it provide this back-up?
With many areas to consider, you may wish to save the following contact details so that you have instant access to the right support services.
ARE YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF A POWER CUT?
If you’re currently in the middle of a power cut, you can use our postcode checker to find out the projected end time. Alternatively, you can report a power cut by calling 0800 6783 105. If in doubt, call 105.