October Luncheon Takeaways: Unplanned Outages… What’s Next?
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
by: Ann DiLorenzo, Kidder Mathews & Nicole Schuck, Intersection

Section: Committee Announcements

Blackouts – planned or unplanned – do you have a plan of action? At this month’s Membership Luncheon we had the pleasure of listening to Nicole Schuck of Intersection and Luis Alvarez of Paragon Services discuss emergency practices to prepare for a blackout. They reviewed a 13-step guide on what to do and how to best manage the situation. 


Losing power in your office building as a property manager can be a challenging situation, but there are steps you can take to manage the situation effectively. Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do:

Safety First: 
Ensure the safety of all occupants. Remind them not to use elevators during a power outage and provide guidance on
evacuation procedures if necessary.
Contact the Utility Company: 
Check if it's a localized issue affecting only your building or a broader outage in the area. Contact the utility company or local power provider to report the outage and get an estimated time for power restoration.
Inform Tenants and Occupants: 
Notify tenants and building occupants about the power outage as soon as possible. Use phone, email, text messages, or any other communication channels available to you.
Provide Information:
Keep tenants updated on the situation, including the estimated duration of the outage and any safety precautions they should take. Provide contact information for any emergency or maintenance personnel who can assist them.
Emergency Lighting:
Ensure that emergency lighting is functional in common areas, stairwells, and exit routes. Emergency lighting is crucial for the safety of occupants during a power outage.
Backup Power Systems: 
If your building has backup power systems like generators or uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), ensure they are operational. Test and maintain these systems regularly to avoid any issues during power outages.
Address Tenant Concerns: 
Be responsive to tenant concerns and inquiries. Provide assistance and information as needed. If tenants have critical equipment that requires power (e.g., medical devices), consider offering alternative accommodation if possible.
Document the Outage: 
Keep records of the outage, including when it started, communication with utility providers, and any actions taken. This documentation may be helpful for insurance claims or future references.
Monitor Security: 
Ensure that building security systems, such as access control and surveillance cameras, continue to operate if possible. If not, consider increasing security patrols or taking other measures to maintain safety.
Plan for Extended Outages: 
If the power outage is expected to be prolonged, consider making arrangements for tenants, such as providing temporary lighting, heating, or cooling, especially if the outage occurs during extreme weather conditions.
Collaborate with Emergency Services: 
If necessary, collaborate with local emergency services and authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of occupants.
Communication During Restoration: 
Keep tenants informed about the progress of power restoration and any developments. Once power is restored, confirm that all building systems are functioning properly.
Post-Outage Review: 
After the power is restored, conduct a post-outage review to identify any weaknesses in your preparedness and response plan.

Use this information to improve your procedures for future power outages.

If you missed the October Membership Luncheon, download the PowerPoint here.