It's officially hurricane season. Everywhere you turn you see articles and newscasts discussing how to prepare your home in case of an emergency, what to pack in a disaster kit, what to know about shelters and so on and so forth. But have you thought about your business? I'm not talking about taping your windows, I'm talking about your communications. Your business communications are extremely important to the safety of your employees. It could be a blackout, a hurricane or another natural disaster or anything that will require your business to use their emergency plans. Did you include your communications when you were formulating these plans? Relying on cell phones is not the way to go. Circuits become overcrowded and calls can't always get through.
Okay I got your attention, now what do you need to do to have your communications prepared? Here are some questions you should ask yourself before an emergency situation arrives.
- Do you have a battery backup for your repeater? Your repeater runs on electrical power. If you have a power failure you will lose your repeater. Even if you have a battery backup, some repeaters go into a fail-safe mode when a surge is detected. Do you know how to reset your repeater properly?
- How long is your auxiliary power for? You have a battery backup - great. Now the question is, how long is it good for? Make sure you plan what you will do after that time expires.
- Are your radio communications on generator power? If you don't know the answer to this, they probably aren't. Consider getting a generator to extend your power in the event of an emergency.
- Do you have simplex channels programmed in your radios? A simplex channel communicates directly from radio to radio without using a repeater. This can also be called a "talk-around" channel. Your normal communications may require a repeater to function how you need them to. In the case of a repeater failure, having the simplex channel will allow you to still communicate although there will be limited coverage compared to how your normally communicate using your repeater. Some communications are better then no communications.
- Do you have spare batteries? This may seem like a silly question but having spare batteries that are fully charged will give you extra time to communicate if you lose power.
- Is your infrastructure equipment on the floor? If at all possible, move your equipment off the floor in case of flooding.
- Are you tower and/or antenna structures secure? Checking the security of your antenna and/or tower structures is something you want to do prior to an emergency. Through time and weather conditions these structures can weaken. We recommend having this checked at least once a year.
The above questions are just a few that you should be asking yourself on a regular basis to limit the issues caused to your communications by an emergency. Being from the New York area, we have all lived through enough of these emergencies to know that communications can make a difference. If you would like help in evaluating or have questions regarding your communications plan, contact Telecom Communications. Our staff is trained to know what you need.
P.S. While this post focused mainly on business, public safety needs to take precautions as well. Many of these tips are the same across both however, for more information for public safety read this blog post