Power Down the Panic: Preparing and Staying Safe During Power Outages

Imagine the scene: a sudden plunge into darkness, computers whirring to a halt, and important events thrown into disarray. Power outages can be disruptive for any business, but for ISCC member institutions – from museums with delicate exhibits to schools relying on technology – they can pose significant challenges. Here at the ISCC, we constantly promote the safety and well-being of staff and patrons, and that includes being prepared for the unexpected, like a power outage.

The Looming Threat: Power Outages on the Rise

According to a 2023 report by the Department of Energy, the average American business experiences power outages lasting over 2 hours at least once per year. These outages can lead to a cascade of problems, including:

  • Safety Risks: Darkness can create tripping hazards, disrupt security systems, and potentially impact life support equipment in specific settings.
  • Data Loss: Unsaved work and corrupted files can occur if computers are not properly shut down.
  • Equipment Damage: Sensitive electronics can be damaged by sudden power surges when electricity returns.
  • Financial Losses: Cancelled events, lost productivity, and perishable inventory spoilage can all have a significant financial impact.
  • Worker’s Compensation Claims: Slips, falls, and other accidents due to poor visibility during outages can lead to costly worker’s compensation claims.

A Guide for ISCC Institutions

By taking proactive steps, ISCC institutions can significantly reduce the risks associated with power outages. Here are some key strategies:

  • Develop a Comprehensive Emergency Plan: This plan should outline clear procedures for responding to power outages, including communication protocols, evacuation procedures, and the designation of responsible personnel.
  • Invest in Backup Power: Consider installing a backup generator or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system to ensure critical equipment continues to function during an outage.
  • Regular Safety Checks: Ensure emergency lighting and fire alarms are functional and readily available in case of darkness.
  • Employee Training: Educate staff on safety procedures, proper shut-down protocols for electronic equipment, and alternative communication methods during outages.
  • Inventory and Safeguard Sensitive Equipment: Identify and safeguard critical equipment that could be damaged by power surges.
  • Data Backup Procedures: Maintain regular backups of important data to minimize the risk of loss during outages.

The ISCC Can Help With Power Outage Preparedness

ISCC is committed to supporting our members in all areas of safety and preparedness. We offer a variety of resources to help you navigate power outages, including:

  • Webinars and workshops: Learn from safety experts on developing emergency plans, conducting safety assessments, and implementing best practices for power outage preparedness.
  • Sample emergency plans and checklists: Utilize customizable templates to streamline the creation of your institution’s specific response plan.
  • Networking opportunities: Connect with other ISCC members to share best practices and learn from their experiences.

ISCC institutions can protect the safety of employees and patrons and minimize the disruption to operations and the potential for costly worker’s compensation claims. Contact the ISCC today to learn more about our resources and programs designed to help you keep your institution safe and prepared.

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