When the lights go out. Preparing for unexpected power loss

Most offices don’t have any UPS (Uninterrupted power supply) systems or generators, so when there’s an unexpected power loss in the workplace it can be debilitating.

Yes you’ll have water but you can’t boil the kettle, and there’s no way we can cope without tea!

There are though a few thing you can do to in advance to mitigate the effects of a loss of electricity and a few things that you can do when it happens.

Fail to prepare, prepare to… hey, who turned out the lights?

  1. 100% do this. Ensure all mobiles, and laptops – anything that runs off a battery supply – are at full charge. When the phones and the desktops go down they’ll be your lifeline to the outside world.
  2. Take charge. And keep one or more power packs in the office too.
  3. Let there be light. More often than not unexpected power outages happen in the winter when it’s dark during some working hours. So make sure you have torches (with regularly tested batteries) in the office
  4. Keep cool. Keep a cool bag/cool box in the office and some freezer blocks in the freezer (assuming you have a freezer/compartment) to store your foodstuff.
  5. Open sesame! Ensure that you know how to manually open and close any electric security gates, garage doors, rather than finding yourself trapped!

What to do when the power goes

  1. Contact the power company. If you’re in England, Scotland or Walesyou can call 105 for free and you will be put through to your local electricity network operator who should be able to advise you when the power will be back up and running. Lines may be busy though so check their social media feeds too (especially Twitter) as they are almost always the most responsive output.
  2. It’s good to talk.Let others know your situation through whatever means you still have available, whether it’s on your website, through social media, via email, by calling or even semaphore. Clients and potential customers will appreciate being kept updated. Also talk to your neighbouring businesses and find out if they’re experiencing the same or if it’s a very localised issue – like perhaps you’ve had a tripped fuse. If nothing else they may have tea!
  3. Turn off computers and appliances. Turn off any computers or other sensitive appliances you may have been using prior to the power outage. This will protect them from any possible power surges, which could damage them if they are left turned on. Do though leave at least one light on, so you to know right away when power is restored.
  4. Stay cool.Quickly find a home for the food in the fridge (and freezer if you have one) before everything defrosts/goes bad. If you don’t have the ability to store it yourself find someone outside of the outage area to keep it for you.
  5. Take a nap.Your brain needs a break and a short nap is proven to increase productivity. Plus if it’s dark your boss won’t be able to see you. Though snoring is not advisable.

It’s not an exhaustive list but the above might help a little in the event of you losing power. Anyone else have any great tips from experience?

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