Its arrival was an unavoidable and imminent fact, but the worst part was the "extreme danger" that experts attributed to it. The entire population was alert, the entire Bahamas remained with eyes and ears tuned to television and radio; they knew they had to pay attention to their authorities, they had to seek refuge and protect themselves as when it made landfall it would destroy everything in its path. "It is imperative that residents of those islands keep sheltered", authorities claimed through all available media.
And so it happened. On September 30, 2015 Joaquin touched land in the Bahamas, turned into a category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, and with sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour; this catalogued it as the most potent cyclone of the current hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Not forewarned by forecasts, Joaquin came down with severe rains, strong winds and dangerous tides that left devastation in its passage through the Bahamas. Sea level rose up to three meters above normal, with precipitation between 250 and 380 mm, leaving floods in different areas, which caused considerable damage to the infrastructure of the islands, including housing, government installations and business infrastructure, in addition to hundreds of refugees in several islands.
Although the communications and electricity infrastructure did not suffer severe damage, certainly all the Bahamas reported cuts in electricity supply, which could not be addressed promptly and quickly until the winds dropped completely.
The devastating presence of Joaquin in the Bahamas reminds us that nothing and no one is exempt from suffering a drubbing of nature and that we also cannot avoid it; from the common citizen whose housing can be destroyed by a natural phenomenon to the hotel chains with large tourist complexes, nor much less our governments, which even with a strategy of intelligence and security, can only prevent further damage and take actions to mitigate the impact. Against the force of nature, ¿who can stand up to it?
How to guarantee the functioning of operations?
The passage of Joaquin through the Bahamas, as with any other hurricane or other natural phenomena which negatively impacts the population, generates serious damage that can cause the cessation of operations of any type of business. The Bahamas lived it with intensity in this latest catastrophe that generated closure of government offices, schools and businesses. This is as simple as, ¿ how to continue operating when physical conditions are not adequate and, above all, when mission-critical systems that guarantee the continuity of operations, are out of service?
There is no doubt that when certain events, such as natural disasters, burst with force causing damage to urban infrastructure; business, industrial and governmental organizations´ facilities as well will suffer damages which could put out of operation their mission-critical systems, which are essential to the continuity of their operations, such as the availability of network, telephone lines, data centers, control centers, etc.
Why place attention on the topic? One just has to consider that in terms of hurricanes, the north Atlantic, the Pacific Northeast and Northwest are among the main risk zones, according to the Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory of the Atlantic.
For businesses, halting their operations may mean huge monetary losses; while for government agencies, the availability of services to citizens is put in jeopardy, which are of vital importance in emergency situations such as those generated by a natural disaster (police, firefighters, medical care, etc.). What to do?
In this context, power backup systems are no longer only a mission-critical system but have become the system of choice; it’s a spinal cord and a strategic tool for businesses, either because the business is mission-critical or just because it wants to achieve a competitive advantage. The idea is to consider it as a strategic part of the business continuity plan.
And is it really worth preventing? Certainly, as according to the Association of Audit and Control of Information Systems (ISACA), 81% of managers whose organizations activated its mechanisms of business continuity, say that “it was effective in reducing interruptions”.
Towards prevention with mobile power systems
The urgent need for immediate power supply, either due to the deficiency of existing supplies, a failure in a power station, a natural disaster or any unforeseen catastrophe, can be satisfied by means of portable power generators.
What benefits can these systems provide? According to Generac, leading designer and manufacturer of backup systems in continuous energy operation, mobile products and power tools, here are some of its main benefits:
- Mobile generators are built to last and excel in extreme conditions, which make them invaluable for emergency response situations, construction sites, road equipment, field bases and other applications that require a reliable mobile power supply.
- It is about efficient solutions for a rapid capability application, since its modular design has been conceived for a fast mobilization and ramp up.
- There are residential, commercial and industrial product lines, allowing for an affordable solution for all types of businesses or residences. For businesses that do not want to make the investment, a portable solution designed for temporal use can also be offered.
- Residential and commercial equipment are made for convenience and considering the environment. Equipment like those of Generac, emit a maximum residential sound level, so as to not disturb neighbors, and a preset exercise starting to keep the equipment in good condition.
- For the Government sector, specifically, it is very important to maintain the continuity of operations. By having a backup generator for emergency use, services such as police and fire stations can guarantee uninterrupted service to the population.
No matter the industry and the size of the business, whether they are telecommunications, retail, hospitality and restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets or the government sector, Generac has a variety of options to fully meet the specific needs of the company to prevent its operations from halting their dealings.
In the Bahamas, there was no human power which could prevent the arrival of Joaquin, nor much less the damage it caused; however, prevention and having the right tools was vital for the continuity of operations. Generac, for example, through its Social responsibility program to serve the areas of emergency and help those most affected by the lack of energy, offered equipment – electricity generators and water pumps - in conjunction with its distributor Marlin Marine and Bayshore Marina, thus supporting the continuity of operations and helping to restore services. Some teams helped islands such as Long Island, Crooked Island, Acklins and San Salvador who lost power supply and all type of communications, to feed the water supply systems so that residents of the islands could have drinking water.
Joaquin the terrible was an example, and today when global warming may have completely altered the climate on a global scale, it is important to always be prepared and count with backup power systems that would enable it to cope with the worst of the storms and maintain the continuity of your business.
Today the Sun is still shining but... ¿Are you already preparing for when the next storm arrives?
Generac Power Systems (NYSE: GNRC) is a leading global supplier of backup power and prime power products, systems, and engine-powered tools. Back in 1959, our founder was committed to designing, engineering, and manufacturing the first affordable backup generator. Fifty-five years later, the same dedication to innovation, durability and excellence has resulted in the company’s ability to expand its industry-leading product portfolio into homes and small businesses, on job sites, and in industrial and mobile applications across the globe. Generac offers backup and prime power systems up to 100 MW, and uses a variety of fuel sources to support power needs for our customers. We are proud to be named the Frost & Sullivan 2014 North American Natural Gas Generator Set Company of the Year. More information: www.generac.com