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Power Outages


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Grainger products and services help you prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards, including power outages.


A power outage can be caused by a wide variety of circumstances and is one of the most common interruptions to business operations. While short interruptions may result in only a small inconvenience, prolonged outages can have a significant impact on operations and revenue. You may be surprised to learn that weather only accounts for about one-third of all power outages. 


What are the other common causes of a power outage?

  • Miscellaneous mechanical damage, construction error and fire
  • Human error, including digging, cranes, traffic and vandalism
  • Animal contact
  • Fallen trees or tree growth
  • Utility equipment problems and grid overload

Building a Preparedness Plan
Testing and communicating a comprehensive emergency plan to your staff will help minimize loss to your business during a power outage. FEMA, OSHA and NIOSH have published recommendations on building preparedness plans.


If you are interested in more customized Business Continuity Planning assistance, your Grainger Representative will contact one of our regional specialists.


Preparing for Power Outages

While you can take steps to prevent outages within your facility, you should always be prepared for those caused by outside influences; these often require more time to repair. The best way to prepare for a power outage is to have a backup power source ready. Grainger offers a variety of products to help you manage your facility in the event of a power outage.


Preparedness Tips

  • Identify equipment and systems critical to continuous operation and have reliable backup power supplies for these systems.
  • Back up files and operating systems regularly.
  • Know the ratings of fuses critical to your machinery and keep them in supply.
  • Clearly mark your meter room and electric service entrances.
  • Keep battery or crank-operated flashlights and radios available.
  • Keep sufficient heating fuel on hand since regular sources may be cut off, especially if the outage is widespread or long-term.


Responding to Power Outages

Immediate response is essential to limiting injuries and loss. Make sure your plan has been tested and clearly communicated to employees. Activate your communication plan to ensure all employees and visitors to your facility are accounted for, and make sure that First Responders have the critical information on the event and any injured people.


Response Tips

  • Check the fuse boxes or circuit breakers to determine if a fuse has blown or a breaker has tripped. If the fuses are okay, check your neighbor to see if the outage is at your facility or area wide.
  • Report a power outage to your local electrical utility company immediately.
  • Avoid back-feed by using an appropriately sized portable generator.
  • If someone has been electrocuted, do not come in direct contact with that person and call 911 immediately.
  • Monitor battery-operated radio or television for emergency updates.
  • Turn off heat pumps, large equipment and lights to decrease power demand when electricity is restored.


Recovering From Power Outages

Data from past disasters has shown that 40% of businesses that close after a disaster never reopen; getting back to normal quickly is essential to your business and your employees.


Recovery Tips

  • Be cautious around all electrical wires and machinery—you may not know when the power has returned and these items become "hot."
  • Check with local authorities to make sure drinking water is safe.
  • Do not try to help by removing trees from power lines. Live trees are excellent conductors of electricity, as are metal chain saw blades and bars.
  • Do not repair any power lines without proper protective apparel and equipment.
  • If power is out in your area, be aware that neighbors using electric generators incorrectly could be sending electricity into power lines. This could be deadly.
  • Never run a generator, pressure washer or any gasoline-powered engine inside an enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.


Additional Resources