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June 11, 2015 — If a natural disaster were to strike, would your business be prepared? Whether it’s a flood, tornado, earthquake, or fire, how much would your business lose if there were no power? How much would your clients, customers, or patients be impacted? Society today depends on power and the operation of the national power grid, but how many businesses are actually preparing for a potential power outage due to a natural disaster?
There are certain steps and precautions business owners can and should take to mitigate the damage done, according to David Brown, president of Collicutt Energy Services Inc. He offers the following guidance:
For businesses with highly sensitive information, such as data centers and financial institutions, the risk of economic losses from a power outage is high. For many facilities, such as assisted-living facilities and hospitals, there is a life safety aspect to consider. Other facilities, such as cell tower sites, emergency call centers, and gas stations, see a far-reaching societal impact, as their accessibility is critical, especially in times of crisis.
Investment in onsite backup power equipment can ensure reliability, safety, and productivity. Weeks, and in many cases, months could go by before power is fully restored following an outage.
First and foremost, to prepare for a disaster businesses should install a stationary emergency standby generator. Onsite backup power provides a reliable, cost-effective way to mitigate the risk of economic loss and societal hardship from power outages. Standby generators are also installed with an automatic transfer switch so that when power loss does occur, the generator will automatically turn on and there will be very little interruption.
Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of the usefulness of an emergency standby generator. When banks had to switch to backup power sources, they were able to maintain their database and prevent data loss automatically. Onsite electrical power generating systems are readily available in a wide variety of designs for specific uses and customer applications.
When selecting a stationary emergency standby generator, a few basic questions that business owners should consider asking a vendor are:
• What generator is right for my business needs?
• How big is the unit?
• Where should the generator be located?
• How will the generator be connected to my building?
• How noisy is the generator?
• What type of fuel does the generator require?
• Do I have to provide space to store the fuel?
• Where and how can I purchase the fuel?
• What warranties are provided with the generator?
Once your standby generator is installed, it’s imperative to not just let it sit and then hope it works when you need it most. Business owners should use the generator’s plan maintenance agreement, which provides routine service based on the specific power application and the severity of the environment.
To maximize your investment and warranties, you should always buy a standby generator from a company that can also service it, and ensure that the servicing technician has an intimate knowledge of your particular generator.
Preventive maintenance for generators plays a critical role in maximizing reliability, minimizing repairs, and reducing long-term costs. Think of it as a car: if a car sat unused in a driveway for a few years, how sure would you be that it would start?
Every year, i's a good idea to check the condition of the generator’s fuel and replace the batteries as necessary. This will ensure that it turns on, runs smoothly, and does not encounter any problems when the backup generator is needed most.
If a standby generator is not a realistic solution for your business, a back-up option would be to connect a towable rental generator to an existing docking station which has been previously installed at your facility.
But, do you know whom to call for a rental generator when disaster strikes? At Collicutt Energy, providing reliable prime power on demand is paramount. A couple of items that business owners should consider when selecting a rental generator distributor are:
• Reference the Electrical Generating Systems Association member database for a list of trusted vendors, as it is the world’s largest trade association dedicated to on-site electric power generation.
• Know where the vendor is located and what the service technicians’ response time would be if a disaster were to strike.
• Make sure the generator could not only be delivered to your location, but also connected, tested, and maintained by the distributor when needed.
• Most importantly, business owners should consider what their access to fuel will be like during a disaster and how they will be able to power the generator in an emergency situation.
As a business owner, it’s important to develop a business response plan to protect you, your employees, your business, and of course your clients or patients. Coming up with a detailed disaster plan ahead of time is the best way to ensure that risk is minimized.
Collicutt Energy is committed to helping customers and businesses meet and manage emergency situations, and limit the risk associated with power outage, disaster recovery, and adverse weather conditions. Wherever power is needed, Collicutt Energy’s technical rental staff will deliver turnkey service and power modules perfectly suited for prime, emergency, and standby use. For more advice on power generation, visit www.collicutt.us.