Lighting your area
Lighting is usually not a big topic for discussion or a big consideration when entering or leaving business establishments. Yet, lighting can make or break a retail business. Lighting can be flattering, obnoxious, or never noticed. It can be a point of frustration and it can draw your eyes to a product or area in a business or store. Lighting can encourage crime and it can discourage the same. Lighting can even be non-visible, and illuminating at the same time. Lighting can direct you away from danger and can provide non-verbal warnings to impaired patrons. Lighting, it seems, does a whole lot more than we would generally expect.
So, what does a discussion about lighting have to do with COOP?
When considering COOP there is an immediate and there is the long term aspect to continuity of operations. If one looks at the immediate aspect of “COOP in place”, then a discussion of lighting focuses on the ability of the organization to continue its operations without interruption in the face of a loss of street power. The longer term aspect of “COOP remote” focuses on the lighting available at a remote facility and its ability to meet the needs of your organization.
Every physical plant, a.k.a. building, has a lighting plan that has been approved by the local building code folks to provide sufficient general lighting that illuminates areas for safe navigation and general business activities. Once the building is constructed and the occupancy permit issued there is never another thought given to the lighting until a new building permit is issued for the space.
Over time for one reason or another ceiling and/or wall sconce lights are retired, moved, or changed out. A building space can undergo significant changes in a very few years that results in lighting changes that deviate from the initial approved lighting plan. As such, if you are going to occupy an existing space consider retaining an architect to review your lighting plan.
As the business owner, you need to specify to the architect that you want to have a lighting and power plan/schedule that incorporates low wattage fixtures which will contribute to your ability to survive a loss of street power for an extended period. This request should result in a building power distribution change to incorporate a standby generator. If a generator already exists there may be changes required for your suite to be attached to the generator panel. In either situation, the architect will specify the electrical and lighting changes necessary to insure your business has uninterrupted lighting and power for your computers, printers, and building air.
What about COOP remote?
Long term continuity of operations often involves relocating a business to a new address for a period of time. When selecting an alternate site, work with your landlord to iron out an agreement that will enable you to relocate your business with as few hurdles as possible to alternate space. Your COOP plan should address business relocation and what is a minimum facility in which you can continue to operate.
The COOP remote site should have sufficient lighting to accommodate your business. If you need additional lighting, estimate the expense that new lighting will incur. Share this number with your landlord and see if an accommodation can be made to share the costs of lighting upgrades if they are needed. This is also a good time to add or relocate power outlets for printers, copiers, or other specialty equipment you may need.
What about a COOP plan?
Part of an effective COOP plan is the whole discussion of visible and hidden preventative processes and technologies. These processes and technologies are intended to reduce the threat matrix that contributes to the need for invoking COOP plan components. Effective lighting in the workplace and areas surrounding the exterior of the workplace reduce the number of accidents which can contribute to COOP plan activation.
In an interesting twist, the exterior illumination of buildings and pathways can have a counter productive affect on burglaries. It seems that burglars like to have illumination so they can see what they are doing and not trip up during their nefarious act. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Burglars-afraid-dark-Crime-falls-Bristol-street/story-13952633-detail/story.html#ixzz2bn2NowHL
Apparently, burglars in Bristol UK like to be able to see their escape route, and to case the property before they break in. Burglars feel that they would attract too much attention if they were to use flashlights. Police in Bristol reported a 20% decrease in crime when exterior illumination was shut off. – go figure!
Security lighting still has its place. So, don’t shut off all your exterior lights just yet. However, if you do decide to switch off, add infrared illumination and infrared HD cameras at eye level to get a good picture of any bad actors.
There are many considerations when establishing an alternate site or negotiating for alternate site services. Lighting is just one consideration. Look for future articles here to address other critical components of your COOP plan.