Summer is known for its rolling blackouts; but as this year’s blackout during the Super Bowl taught us, a blackout can happen anytime and anywhere. It is essential your business has a plan for what to do during a blackout to ensure your organization can continue operations during this time. Here are 5 things we learned about business continuity during blackouts from our recent webinar:
1. Blackouts aren’t necessarily related to bad weather. Solar flares (or Coronal Mass Ejections) can hit satellites and impact our telecommunications networks, possibly impacting communications for your business. The largest CME recorded was in 1859 called the Carrington Event and it actually shocked telegraph operators and continued transmitting messages through currents in our atmosphere even though the devices weren’t connected.
2. Backing up critical documents in a cloud-based system is critical for protecting data and continuing productivity even during a blackout. Keeping core business data, contact lists, floor plans and other critical information in the cloud ensures your crisis team has everything they need and will allow employees to work from home.
3. An Emergency Notification System can be used to send out proactive messages before a blackout hits. This will help minimize confusion, and provide assurance your team will know what to do in the event of a crisis. During the blackout, this system can send messages via voice, text and email, so if your team has charged their laptops, smart phones, or other devices, they will continue to receive communications from your crisis team because…
4. Text messages are more likely of going through during a blackout than trying to place a phone call. During power outages, some phone systems may be overwhelmed, but SMS will go through instead of getting stalled on landlines, especially if it’s a tornado or hurricane which has knocked out power.
5. Do not call 911 to ask about the power outage. The first responders at the call centers will not be able to advise you as to how long the power will be out or the extent of the outage. Call your energy supplier or utilities provider, or listen to news reports, and follow social media outlets for updates on the blackout.
Preparing for a blackout also includes developing a preparedness plan outlining the operational tasks and responsibilities for your staff, identifying your power requirements, developing then testing your business continuity plan (including conditions to determine if employees can continue working) and training your crisis team. It might be a good idea to have a backup power supply, usually powered by a NBN battery for your broadband if power has gone out so you can still be connected to the outside world.
While blackouts are a unique situation, taking an all-hazards approach to your crisis plans will help ensure your business is ready to mange any incident. To help get you started, Preparis offers the 7 Steps to Preparedness whitepaper, along with a free Preparing for Blackouts Checklist. You can also replay “Business Continuity During Blackouts” here. For more information on how Preparis can help develop a BC plan for your business, click here to request a demo.