Power outages, intensified by the rising frequency of natural disasters, lead to significant economic losses and can jeopardize lives in critical care. As reliance on power grows, so does the importance of having backups. Are you prepared for the next outage?
Power backups and their importance for emergency preparedness are undeniable. In crises, they ensure essential services and communication networks are operational. Businesses and households rely on generators during power outages, ensuring a consistent and dependable response to disruptions.
The importance of power backups during an emergency cannot be overstated. This article explores how you can prepare for emergencies and the available options for power backup sources.
What Is an Emergency Power Backup?
An emergency power backup is a system designed to keep electronics running during a blackout. These blackouts can arise from various causes, such as malicious attacks or natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.
Power outages can range in duration from a few hours to several days. In these situations, critical services must continue to function. Thus, when the national grid is unavailable, the alternative power source that steps in is termed the emergency power backup.
What Is at Stake When Commercial Power Goes Off?
In the United States, power outages have extensive consequences. They impact individuals, communities, and businesses in profound ways. Various studies have shown that:
- The Department of Energy incurs costs exceeding $150 billion annually due to power outages.
- Statistics show a marked increase in crime rates during power outages, especially those that last for extended periods.
- The expected mortality rate during power outages is 90 deaths per month.
The Importance of Power Backups in Emergency Preparedness
Every household should have a power backup as a crucial component of emergency preparedness. While many commercial entities maintain power backups for contingencies, many households overlook their importance.
There are several interesting reasons to implement a power backup plan, including:
1. Emergency Preparedness
Emergency preparedness encompasses the measures taken before, during, and after an emergency. Instituting a power backup plan is a proactive measure to take in anticipation of emergencies.
Emergencies often bring about challenges, such as medical and heating issues. A power backup ensures that you have a reliable energy source to address medical situations at home during power outages.
For instance, natural calamities like hurricanes or storms can disrupt commercial power infrastructures for extended periods. In such situations, a household without heating can face severe medical emergencies, such as the risk of hypothermia. Power backups offer a lifeline, ensuring warmth and safety.
Having a power source to charge your smartphone is another dimension of emergency preparedness. A charged phone facilitates communication with the external world, enabling calls to essential services like 911 for emergency evacuations.
2. Emergency Power Backups Are Cleaner Sources of Power
In the absence of commercial electricity, individuals often resort to alternative means for cooking and warmth. Power backups, such as those using batteries, produce no exhaust fumes, rendering them a cleaner solution during crises.
While diesel generators might be suitable for commercial settings, they aren’t ideal for homes. Not only are they costly, but their operation involves burning fossil fuels, leading to the release of harmful gases.
Emergency power solutions like rechargeable batteries are not only cleaner, but also more environmentally friendly and healthier for individuals.
3. For Medical Emergencies
Many individuals depend on electrically powered devices for their health and well-being, especially those receiving home care for specific medical conditions. These devices require a constant power source to function, underscoring the importance of a reliable power backup plan.
Without a backup power source, these individuals might be at risk, especially during prolonged power outages that can last days or even weeks. For those living in remote regions without access to the main power grid, power backup systems often serve as their primary energy source.
4. Staying Connected
In today’s world, businesses heavily rely on electricity. Ensuring a backup power plan is in place means one can remain connected even during a commercial power outage. Portable power backups are particularly valuable for professionals who are constantly on the move. With these backups in place, they can ensure the uninterrupted operation of their businesses.
5. Maintaining the Credibility and Reliability of Critical Infrastructure
Patients and their loved ones depend on healthcare facilities to provide critical care. Healthcare institutions without a power backup strategy compromise their reliability. A hospital lacking an alternative power source can struggle to protect patients requiring critical care during power outages.
Hence, power backups not only serve as an alternative energy source but also bolster the trustworthiness of healthcare facilities.
6. Personal Safety
Power backups also enhance personal security by ensuring the continuous operation of safety systems. Criminals often exploit power outages to perpetrate crimes, as blackouts typically imply deactivated security systems.
However, a robust power backup plan ensures these security mechanisms remain active, deterring potential criminals.
What Are the Primary Sources of Power Backups for Emergencies?
Recommended Reading: A Historical Overview of the U.S. And China Relations and Power Grid Failures and Their Causes.
Advancements in technology have led to the creation of solar and fuel devices specifically designed to store power for emergency use. Various home battery backup systems are available.
- Tesla Powerwall
- LGES 10H and 16H Prime energy storage systems with an inverter.
- Power banks for charging mobile devices
Unlike other backup solutions, battery backups derive their power from electricity, storing charge that can be used during power outages.
However, there are also backup systems that generate electricity directly. These include:
- Stationary or portable propane or gas generators
- Solar-powered generators
- Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
- Fuel cells
Emergency power backups are essential in maintaining normalcy during electrical outages. The diverse range of backup devices ensures individuals can select the most fitting option based on their specific power requirements.
Take hospitals as an example: their power requirements to ensure uninterrupted operations are significantly higher than those of a typical household. As a result, a hospital might opt for a stationary diesel generator.
Generators, particularly diesel variants, are often the go-to for commercial power backup because of their ability to automatically start when the main power fails. Diesel generators are favored because of the following reasons:
- They utilize diesel, which is widely accessible.
- They offer a swift response time, activating immediately when commercial power ceases, ensuring continuous power.
- They are dependable and rarely malfunction.
- Diesel generators offer a consistent power density.
However, some entities lean towards propane-powered generators. These generators often boast a larger fuel capacity, and propane outlasts diesel in terms of fuel longevity.
Power backups are essential for emergency preparedness. Hospitals require power backups to prevent avoidable fatalities.
For individuals, power backups enhance safety and ensure home and business continuity while maintaining personal connectivity. Ultimately, power backups prove invaluable when commercial power is unavailable.
- CNET: Backup Battery vs. Generator: Which Emergency Power Option Is Better?
- Department of Energy: Department of Energy Report Explores U.S. Advanced Small Modular Reactors to Boost Grid Resiliency
- Institute of Physics: Understanding the Social Impacts of Power Outages in North America: A Systematic Review
- Yale Environment Review: The True Cost of Power Outages