Ever since the devastating hurricanes, Hugo in 1989, and Andrew in 1992, a great deal has been done to emphasize preparation. This is especially important in light of the higher insurance costs, and the strain on local economies in light of the recent increase in terrorism.
One significant problem that occurs in the aftermath of a hurricane is power outages. High winds and tornadoes can knock down trees and power lines as well as sent ordinarily unmovable objects flying any number of distances. These effects can leave cities and large communities without power for long periods of time.
Electricity has become a very precious commodity in light of the energy crisis in California, the ENRON debacle, and most recently, the blackout in the Northeastern United States, which was the largest ever. In an age, where there are computers, the internet, cell phones, network routers, DVD/VCRs, wireless devices, etc, there is a tremendous strain on the electrical resources we have.
Recently, American Power Conversion, also known as APC, wrote up an article about preparation for the hurricane season, called, "Are You Prepared for Another Hurricane Season?" In the article, APC gives background information on hurricanes such as origins, effects, intensity, and Hurricane Andrew as well as provide suggestions on what to do in the aftermath of a hurricane, and offer a line of UPS Backup solutions to use in your home or office.
In today's wired and wireless world of computers, mobile phones, GPS devices, servers, network routers, and other popular electronics equipment, both electricity and information have become very important and precious commodities.
Just look at what happened with the recent blackout over the Northeastern United States. Normal everyday things such as getting water, riding subways, and keeping cool in the summer heat, were all put to an extreme test. On top of that, businesses lost money because their information technology infrastructures were taken down by the loss of electricity.
Now, how do hurricanes tie into this? Well, hurricanes, with their high winds, lightning, and tornadoes, can down trees and power lines, which results in loss of electrical power for at least a couple days. If a major hurricane such as Hurricane Hugo in 1989 or Hurricane Andrew in 1992 were to make landfall in a major metropolitan area, insurance costs would be at least $80 billion dollars. Moreover, a major hurricane has yet to strike a metropolitan area in today's era of increased technology that makes things such as electrical power and information so critical.
Power outages can be not only a tremendous inconvenience, but also a threat to electronic equipment such as computers because surges that can occur when the power is put back on could literally fry their electrical components. They can also corrupt data, which also inhibits work being done, and decisions being made.
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In APC's article, "Are You Prepared for Another Hurricane Season?", they mention how utilities "have learned from years of 'hurricane seasons'." This includes how many of these utilities take extra measures to prepare for these storms, and advice they give to customers on what steps to take during and in the aftermath of a storm.
Customers are advised to contact their electric utility company immediately when they lose power. This is so that the utility can assess the situation and deploy the proper resources to handle the situation so that power can be restored quickly. Another piece of advice utilities give is to contact them by phone since the telephone lines are separate from electrical transmission lines, and are usually still available well after the power goes out.
Users can also contact their utility companies via the Internet if they have a battery operated computer such as a laptop, or pocket computer with a wireless Internet connection. This would be the only way since the loss of electrical power would prevent to use most personal computers and their wireless connections to access the World Wide Web.
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One of the leading makers of UPS, or uninterrupted power supply, devices, APC has several models that can be used for your home or business. Here at Hurricaneville, we have an APC Back-UPS CS device, and it works great. With the Power Chute software installed on our iMac with Mac OS X v. 10.2.6, we can have an orderly shutdown when the power goes down. With its surge protection, it can prevent any damage to our equipment by electrical surges.
Recently, during the blackout that hit the Northeast, our computers and electronic equipment stayed on when the power went out. Now, since we are located in Central New Jersey, and didn't get the brunt of the power outage, electricity was able to come back on quickly. Nevertheless, the APC Backup Solution that we have has worked very well. It is also very simple to hook up to your computer since it comes with a USB connection.
Other products that are offered by APC are:
- APC Back-UPS ES--is affordable battery backup for home and home office computers and electronics.
- APC Back-UPS LS--is leading edge power protection for high performance computers and electronics.
- APC Back-UPS CS--the one we have, gives professional-grade protection for office and home office computers and electronics.
- APC Back-UPS RS--which features advanced protection for business workstations, high-end desktops, and other electronics devices in the home or office.
APC also offers a special feature on their web site called the APC UPS Selector, an online application that can help make your decision on what UPS device to buy a lot easier.
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