Surviving Utilities Disruptions

Coupled with untimely natural disasters, disruption to the power supply and other utility services is one of the biggest threats facing businesses today.  This is especially true for those with operations that impact an infrastructure consisting of other businesses, social services and the consumer public.  Preparing for utilities disruption is a critical step that your business continuity plan cannot do without.

Because many businesses rely heavily on electricity, gas, telecommunications and other vital utilities, a thorough plan should cover the following:

  • Plan for service interruptions that may occur during and after an emergency situation.  Determine which utilities are the most essential to daily business operations, consider possible backup sources and speak with service providers regarding potential alternatives.
  • Learn when and what utilities should be turned on or off by staff.  Utilities such as gas and electricity should only be handled professionals.
  • Purchase a backup generator to power the most critical business functions during a disaster.  Be sure to test the backup system’s functionality from time to time and never operate a diesel generator within the facility as it may expel dangerous gas.
  • Determine how you will communicate with staff, customers, providers and others if the main source of communications should fail.  Consider two-way radios as well as other devices that do not rely solely on electricity as a source of power.
  • Create an alternative means for accessing the internet and other vital networks.
  • Consider health provision as well as the distribution of food and water supplies.
  • If the onsite facility consists of refrigerated food and beverage, locate a vendor beforehand to purchase ice and associated supplies.

The impact power outages and other utility disruptions can have on large business firms, energy-intensive organizations and service providers have the potential to be catastrophic.  Because a wide range of disasters may occur, various factors need to considered, evaluated and analyzed.  A thorough disaster recovery plan will reduce the risks of damage to the facility, machinery and systems, loss of service and production, disruption in the network infrastructure and supply chain and loss of personnel.  Most importantly preparing for utilities disruption will dramatically reduce the risks of credibility damage and finances.

Business Continuity Planning

Why you need a Business Continuity Plan

Preparing employees for in-house shelter