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Winter blackouts – how to be prepared

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By West Midlands Museum Development / Posted on Monday 5th December 2022

In response to concerns over possible winter energy blackouts, Arts Council England has offered some actions that museums and other cultural venues should be aware of. Being proactive and taking actions now will help organisations to be better prepared should the sector experience power blackouts later on.

  • Review risk assessments to capture possible consequences power blackouts may have on their buildings, collections, and staff’s operations, and plan accordingly
  • Consider possible ways in which resilience can be increased, for example installing multiple power feeds to the venue – this can minimise the likelihood of a power disruption affecting a venue. Electricity Network Operator will be able to advise if installing an additional power feed is feasible and cost effective.
  • Ensure that fire and alarm systems have been serviced and where applicable battery backups are stored and available if needed
  • If you have a back-up generator, test it and make sure you are aware of how long it will last in case of a power cut.
  • Contact the service providers for your telephone service, security system and fire protection system for information on how these systems will operate during and after an electrical outage.
  • Know what equipment can and cannot be turned off during an outage. Develop a plan for controlled shut-down if needed.
  • Based on the risk assessment conducted, considerations may be given to surrender some parts of a building or site, saving energy for the most key/ important areas.
  • Think about how communications will be managed, both internally and externally, in case of a power blackouts.
  • Ensure you have a list of emergency phone contacts at hand if needed.
  • If any changes are made to any of your operational procedures, ensure these are reflected in the risk management plan and staff is aware of these.
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