To be effective, a disaster management plan can never be written once, thrown into a drawer, and then pulled out again only when an emergency arises. It is a living document that should be updated regularly and tested with periodic simulation drills that guide refinements.
As a key part of preparations for emergencies, the backup power plan should also be periodically re-evaluated. Facilities expand and operations change over time, altering the critical load required to power schools, stores, offices, factories and homes while rebuilding moves forward and the utility restores the grid.
When updating your backup power plan, here are the key steps you need to consider:
Backup systems should be covered by complete and consistent planned maintenance programs that include regular inspection and operational testing to identify issues long before a disaster occurs. Customer support agreements ranging from simple preventive maintenance kits to sophisticated total cost performance guarantees can be arranged with your local Cat® Dealer to make sure power systems are ready when you need them.
If mobile units will be used to provide backup power, facilities staff must ensure that adequate space is still available outside buildings. Planners should also make sure that fuel and accessories are readily available, and that staff are properly trained on the power-generation equipment targeted for a specific site.
Practice Makes Perfect
Emergency response drills put your disaster management plan to the test, allowing responders to see how the plan works when executed and providing direction on the alterations needed to improve responsiveness and effectiveness. The local electric utility should be involved in these drills, since tight coordination between utility staff and emergency personnel during an actual emergency can improve the utilization of mobile equipment. For example, if emergency personnel know when utility power is about to be restored in a given sector, they can plan to release mobile power units to other areas where they are needed.
Disasters are by definition unpredictable – even the best plan will not eliminate the need for good judgment and resourcefulness. However, an up-to-date plan immediately moves disaster recovery several steps forward, making critical actions nearly automatic and providing a basis for sound decision making as the event unfolds.
We'd like to hear about your experiences in updating your emergency power plan.
- Do you have an emergency power plan?
- What elements of your backup power plan have changed most drastically over time? Are there any elements that never or rarely change?
- At what point do you decide to transition from an emergency plan that relies heavily on mobile power to a more permanent solution?
- Tell us the most important thing no one ever thinks about — but ought to — when updating the emergency power plan.
- What is the one thing that keeps you up at night about your emergency power plan?
- What are the hard lessons you’ve learned about the need to update your emergency power plan?
Please post below and share your thoughts.
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