Forest fires sweeping through British Columbia and California. Massive snowfalls in New York. Hurricanes pummeling the American south. Flooding and tornadoes hitting Ontario hard.
Many businesses have had to shut down on short notice due to extreme weather events. The impacts were costly and highly disruptive. Being prepared in advance may not eliminate costly disaster outcomes. But an emergency preparedness plan will help minimize damage and accelerate the process of getting your business back to normal.
Does your disaster preparedness plan specifically address energy? Here are a few questions a robust and energy-conscious plan will answer:
What might be damaged from an instant power shutdown? Are surge protectors installed on key equipment to prevent overload damage when the electricity comes back on?
Are back-up generators sized to produce sufficient electricity to meet peak electrical load requirements? If it is impractical to use back-up power to cover peak load, what non-critical equipment or power draws can be turned off to temporarily reduce demand? Are generators and batteries checked at least twice yearly to ensure they are running smoothly? Are fuel tanks full and batteries fully charged?
Has a flooding risk assessment been completed? What building or site modifications could prevent and reduce flooding (e.g. on-site stormwater storage; permeable landscaping)?
Is there a list of utility company emergency contact names that are easily accessible? Is the list current and is it continuously updated? Does your plan consider on-site power generation via natural gas, solar/wind or battery storage to help buffer unexpected shutdowns? Are satellite phone(s) available or required in case cellular service is down?