Power outages and disturbances cost North American businesses anywhere from $26 billion to $80 billion a year. For South Carolina businesses, especially in the Myrtle Beach region, power outages from hurricanes is a real threat. In 2015 and 2016, Atlantic Hurricane season (Jun.- Nov.) delivered two powerful, damage causing storms. Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew took power offline for days (and for some, weeks) causing businesses to grind quickly to a halt.

Unexpected power outage affects networked systems, financial transactions, internal and external communication, and can place businesses in difficult situations for months after the power resumes.

With meteorologists predicting “above-normal” hurricane possibilities this year, it’s important for businesses of all sizes to prepare.

Five Ways Small and Medium-Sized Businesses in South Carolina Can Prepare

1. Invest in a commercial generator: generators for businesses sense disturbances and automatically and instantaneously shift to generated power within seconds (or less!) to keep your business running at 100%. Commercial generators are powered by a direct natural gas or liquid propane line and are efficient, quiet, and pay for themselves rather quickly in the event of a blackout.

As a result, businesses like Lowe’s used commercial generators to continue to sell products in the wake of Hurricane Matthew when other stores without generators were forced to close their doors. Moreover, a generator will help you protect sensitive data, keep networked security systems online, and save perishable goods if you work in the food service or hospitality sector in Myrtle Beach.

2. Back up data to the cloud. Depending on the size of your business, you may or may not be using cloud services to save your records and sensitive documents. In the case of an unexpected power disturbance, small businesses risk losing important data during a power surge. Therefore, prepare for this by backing up all mission critical data to the cloud for emergency retrieval.

3. Keep insurance information up-to-date and safely stored (i.e. safety deposit box). After Hurricane Matthew, many small South Carolina businesses entered the time-consuming process of filing insurance claims. Business owners filed for everything from water damaged property to profit loss from power loss (yes, this exists). Keeping insurance information safe can save a lot of headache and heartache in the event of a natural disaster.

4. Move physical equipment before the storm hits. Luckily, advanced meteorological technology allows South Carolina businesses to receive advance warning of major storms. If your business is in a flood zone, move equipment to upper floors or off-site, if possible. If you have paper files, move them to a location more likely to stay dry in the event of a hurricane.

5. Create a backup plan: plan for everything from a backup location (should you need to evacuate) to a plan for business continuity from key decision makers. Know who will communicate to employees and the public and how. Additionally, decision makers should determine how payroll, billing, and debt servicing obligations could be affected, and create an action plan.

Cooper Electrical Services Can Help You Prepare

Ideally, South Carolina businesses will not need to close or go-offline in the event of a storm. However, recent history indicates a real trend toward more frequent and powerful Atlantic hurricanes. Cooper Electrical Services provides emergency power and commercial generator solutions to businesses of all sizes. For more information, contact Cooper Electrical Services.