In the lead-up to winter and the arrival of cold weather, the possibilities for blackouts are always at the top of the list for discussion.
While concerns for nationwide blackouts in the UK’s winter 2014 are low, bad weather and accidents mean that there will always be a risk of power outages – so have you thought about how it would affect your business?
While large or corporate businesses frequently have generators they can fall back on, small and medium enterprises are unlikely to have a back-up or be able to afford to rent should the need arise. For those who rely on power to keep their business ticking over – perhaps you are a salon with a high power usage to provide your service, or a restaurant that can’t do without adequate lighting – you’ll need to ensure you are completely prepared with these tips.
Stock your office – buy some essentials to keep you out of the dark
- LED torches – they’re bright, energy efficient and available cheaply in most home-ware stores.
- Emergency lighting – relatively inexpensive and widely available, going one step further and installing these will mean you’ll be able to keep working in fair conditions for a few hours while everything gets sorted out. Just remember to keep stocked up on the correct sort of batteries, as these often require something with a little more kick than AA.
- A portable mobile phone charger – if kept topped up, a good portable phone charger can hold four full charges (so you can make emergency calls, and also finish that last level of Candy Crush).
- Battery controlled radio – so you can tune into a regional station and get any updates.
Be aware of security risks
Power outages can leave some businesses vulnerable to security risk. For example, if you work in a building with an access code, make sure you know the protocol as to what would happen if the power were to fail. It may also be worth contacting your local police for any advice or steps you should take to protect yourself.
Your digital security could also be compromised – losing power can mean losing important data that isn’t safely stored. Make sure your computer systems are regularly backed up so that any unpredictable crashes cause as little damage as possible.
If your loss of power is isolated to your four walls, then you have more options available to you for emergency power. For example, a business renting space within a shopping centre could see if the establishment is able to help supply power, depending on their generating capacity.
Can’t afford to rent or buy a back-up generator? If you’ve been affected by a power outage, there’s a good chance nearby SMEs are also struggling. Get in touch and see if you can collaborate on a generator rental – or be prepared and split the cost of one that you can all use as and when needed.