Why Do Schools Need Backup Generators?

It is obvious that healthcare, banking, and manufacturing or processing industries require backup power (typically in the form of diesel engine generators) to sustain their operations during power outages. Many other sectors also rely heavily on backup power to keep their day-to-day operations afloat; one of them being the education sector. Schools, colleges, and institutions of higher learning typically have numerous systems powered by electricity which can lead to massive inconveniences in case of power failure.

Some of the systems include heating and cooling, ventilation, fire alarms, computer networks, research equipment, data storage, lighting, security, elevators, and phone networks among more. All these systems play a crucial role in ensuring the comfort of students as well as guaranteeing functionality in all areas of the institution. Without power backup, a school may be forced to shut down in the middle of the day leading to interruptions in planned studies. This can also compromise the safety of the kids and require the school to coordinate with their parents to pick them early – which can be a logistical nightmare because it’s an emergency and most parents aren’t available during the day.

For an institution of higher learning like a university, a power outage could result in time and money losses for students and the faculty. Important data may vanish and vital equipment could be damaged. It may also be impossible to carry out some power and time-based experiments during the outage, or even after power restoration.


Potential Power-Disruption Threats to Schools

Education facilities face many power-disruption threats day-in-day-out.  Tweets like the example below happen every day across the US:

Common causes include supply grid failures, weather events or catastrophes, and power shutdowns. There can be natural weather events such as storms (ice, rain, snow or wind), fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes leading to power grid failure. A power provider may also schedule maintenance or electricity upgrades to their existing system which would require power shutdown to an institution.


What does Backup Power Help With?

Backup power helps different education institutions differently. It all depends on what the institution uses electricity for and what it stands to lose when that power is drawn away. Here are a few things why backup power is imperative for educational facilities.


Class Disruptions & Scheduling

This is the most apparent reason. All the way from elementary school to university level, backup power helps in preventing class disruptions & scheduling. It can be tough re-organizing lessons and postponing them to a later date in elementary school, but even harder in universities. It can also be impossible to reschedule meetings, shows, and forums because certain guests are no longer available. With backup power in place, there are no interruptions to class-work or any of the mentioned events, and hence everything flows seamlessly.


Computer & Network Infrastructure

Thanks to huge advancements in technology, education facilities all over the country are now adopting the use of devices like tablets and laptops in their lesson plans. Today, a power outage no longer means kids can still listen to a teacher in a candle-lit room when lessons take place on laptops and tablets. Power backup has to be on standby to keep these devices on in case of an outage.

Colleges and universities have massive data centers to keep their valuable information such as research and experiment findings. Without power backup, there is the risk of losing this sensitive data. Lack of power can also bring down IT security systems and leave the institution susceptible to attacks by hackers.


Research & Experiments

In addition to keeping data from research and experiments safe, backup power also ensures that on-going tests are not disrupted or spoiled. It makes sure that research facilities and laboratories remain at controlled temperatures to keep samples and test objects at constant heat, cold or warmth. In some cases, thousands of dollars of grant money is pumped into college and university experiments because they are considered revolutionary or potential game-changers – and power backup ensures this money doesn’t go down the drain.

Lab test tube experiment at college


Other Overlooked Systems

Educational facilities rely on backup power for a wide range of systems that are critical but easily overlooked. Some of those that we haven’t mentioned include:

  •    Emergency lighting and security systems.
  •    Refrigeration systems for cafeterias.
  •    Water sprinkler systems and smoke detectors.
  •    Bells, PA systems.
  •    Electronic door systems.
  •    Electronic teaching equipment.

All schools need to have power when children are present in the vicinity. It’s not just a matter of having the lights on and keeping temps regulated, but also ensuring kids’ safety.


Safety Concerns

As mentioned above, backup power is imperative for safety purposes in education facilities. In case of power outage, student’s safety becomes highly compromised because systems such as fire suppression equipment no longer offer the required protection. Security systems and electronic door locks leave students exposed to external threats; telecommunications systems cannot be used to update parents about the situation, and coordination becomes a hefty task. Plus, in the case of colleges and universities, it becomes easier for external attackers to steal secret information when security systems are down.


Schools as a Community Shelter

In serious events, such as a storm, schools are often used as shelters and food stations for the affected people. Backup power allows the institution to be warm, safe (by providing emergency lighting, etc.) and keeps communication lines open.

The importance of backup power for educational facilities cannot be underestimated. Consult with a professional generator supplier today to determine what load your institution requires to keep operations flowing without interruptions.