Generator Planning for National Preparedness Month
Every September is National Preparedness Month. This month was founded to help businesses prepare for the many types of disasters that could strike at any time. Business continuity is the name of the game, focusing on keeping the business running during outages and quickly get back online after disasters. Ensuring your business continuity requires preparing ahead of time for every type of disaster you can think of When you have a red folder for everything with a tested and proven plan, you’ll be able to weather or recover no matter what happens in the upcoming year.
This year’s National Preparedness Month’s theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”
In light of the recent hurricane experience shared by the entire East Coast, we’re focusing on generators this year. There’s no denying that without power, a modern business just can’t keep running. Most businesses can’t go more than a few minutes without power before there is a serious interruption in service, one that customers notice and can even put the business in peril.
The Two Types of Emergency Outage
For a business, there are two types of power disasters. There are temporary outages that may last several hours and cause temporary but potentially disastrous interruptions in business. Then there are more serious outages that may last more than a day or even a week, like when local services are down after a major storm.
In these situations, you will want either a built-in backup generator or a local generator rental service that will deliver and install when your business is in need. These are your two backup power options with a great deal of flexibility based on the needs of your business and building.
Determine Your Business’ Emergency Power Needs
The first step is to determine the power needs of your building. Invite an electrician or generator specialist to test your system. Determine how much power your building needs and the system you will be splicing into if you install either a backup or emergency generator. If you plan for temporary generator rental during emergencies, you’ll want to designate a space and an access point. Often, these are stationed in trailers outside the building.
If you want to install your own backup generator, you’ll need to find the space and access point in your indoor or underground utility area.
Consider a Backup Generator Installation
Backup generator installation is the more serious approach. With a backup generator, you can free yourself from reliance on the power grid. As a good example, hospitals often have a backup generator so that the power can come back immediately – often without a complete interruption – should the local grid go out. An installed backup generator can ensure that your business continuity remains uninterrupted whether you live in a city with regular rolling blackouts or face a historic storm.
Price and Purchase
Installing a backup generator means buying a backup generator. This is a large, high-powered machine that costs anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 depending on the size, power requirements, and duration of backup power you are planning for. For your power continuity plan, a used generator is often the best deal for value, maintenance, and cost.
Fuel Storage and Supply
Generators provide power by burning fuel. If you have a natural gas line, This is a low-cost and endless supply for your emergency power and is rarely interrupted by weather disasters. Otherwise, you will want to store (and maintain) tanks of emergency fuel for your generator. Consider fuel availability and storage in your region.
Generator Fuel Types
- Natural Gas
- Bi-Fuel (Natural Gas and Diesel)
Installation Location and Room
Where will the generator go? Large scale generators need available utility space for installation. Check your building’s availability when deciding what kind of generator to buy and install. Measure the space and have it inspected for viability when installing a high-voltage, fuel-burning appliance.
The Backup Power Activation System
Don’t forget your automation system. You’ll need your backup generator maintained, fueled, and designed to kick on when the power goes out. The faster it comes on, the less interruption your business experiences. Combined with a UPS (uninterruptible power source), a short-term backup battery power source, you can even tide over the interruption between grid and emergency power.
Book Emergency Generator Rental
Another popular option is to pre-book an emergency generator from a rental company. In regions where seasonal storms and snow often knock out power for days at a time. When these conditions return, hundreds of businesses reach out to local generator rental and installation services and competition is steep. Pre-booking an emergency generator secures it for fast delivery when a massive power outage occurs. After a major storm, you can be sure the right generator will be available and promptly delivered to (and installed in) your building before those who call last-minute. But there are a few considerations to take into account.
Location and Installation
The first question is where your emergency generator will be delivered and installed. If you don’t have large-cargo basement access (or the indoor utility space) that’s okay. Emergency generators are often set up as outdoor trailers in an area of the parking lot or near your delivery driveway. Consider where the generator will hook into your electrical system. Have a generator expert from your rental service review and approve your emergency generator location plans.
Emergency generator rental takes action the first day of or after a major outage disaster. Generator rental teams specialize in deploying as soon as the roads are clear. However, this does mean your business may be offline for the first day while your generator is being deployed and installed. Be sure to plan your business continuity to tide over this time, ideally with online, cloud, and remote solutions that keep your essentials online even when no one is in the office.
Emergency Generator Business Continuity Tips
In the spirit of National Preparedness month, we’re wrapping up with our top three helpful tips when making your emergency generator plans:
- Install UPS Units on Every Floor
- UPS are battery-backup power strips. They can supply monitors, computers, servers, and some equipment for a few minutes after the power goes out. If your building experiences rolling blackouts or you have a backup generator, UPSs can keep your lights and servers fully online until the power comes back in a few seconds or minutes.
- Plan Ahead for Predictable Outages and Bad Weather
- If your region has regular rolling blackouts, plan ahead for these predictable but unscheduled outages with UPS battery backups.
- If your region has seasonal storms that will knock out the power, plan more seriously to buy or emergency-rent a generator to the business back online promptly.
- Cloud Migration for Location-Safe Business
- The final piece of your emergency outage planning is cloud migration. The more of your core processes are conducted online through the cloud, the less business interruption you will experience. Your clients are less likely to experience the outage with you, and business partners or other locations can keep the ball rolling while your local venue is disabled.
- Cloud migration allows safe employees to work remotely without braving the post-disaster streets and ensures that even if your entire region is ravaged by bad weather, there is always a backup of your cloud-stored business in some distant, safe redundant server bank.
Ready to build your complete business continuity plan with generators and cloud migration? Contact us today!