How dark it can be in blackouts

Last week the city that I currently live in, Wollongong as well as the nearby city, Sydney experienced severe storms and flash flooding. With these severe storms and flash flooding came blackouts and loss of internet connections.

With blackouts as we all know, electricity is usually the thing that we lose access to temporarily, however internet connections can also be lost. We usually can’t do much about it until these electrical and internet connections are fixed and the storm passes, which we all know is frustrating and inconvenient. However the great thing about technology is that it evolves, even though most of us take it for granted, deep down I think we are all grateful that mobile phones have built in Wi-Fi and a data connection. Our phones make it easy for our online desires and needs to be met when there is a blackout.

However businesses don’t have the same luxury as we do when it comes to accessing the internet and communicating during blackouts.

During these storms and flash flooding, there were some businesses affected by the blackouts and loss of internet connections, but one case in particular stood out. Gwynneville Medical Practice was greatly affected, they had no phones for a few days and had no internet connections for a week. Without their phones and internet connections, the doctors at this practice were unable to provide their patients with test results, which would have been distressing for those with serious illnesses and medical conditions.

It is inevitable that if individuals suffer during blackouts, then businesses will suffer too. But does anyone ever think about the detail of the suffering that businesses can suffer during a blackout, especially a business like the Gwynneville Medical Practice? I didn’t, I didn’t realise the domino effect that could arise as a consequence of a blackout.


Is the solution to rely on less technology? That sounds good in theory, but in today’s society it’s not possible and sometimes other technologies such as tablets and iPads can help in these  situations. And most businesses have the common sense to have hard copies of files.

I don’t think there really is a “solution” you can’t stop storms, flash flooding and any subsequent blackouts and loss of internet connections that are bound to occur. I think the lesson in all of this is to be prepared in advance such as having back-up generators in place if possible, having office mobile phones and distributing those numbers to patients/clients/costumers, backing up files as well as making patients/clients/customers aware of an impending storm and/or possible blackouts and loss of internet connections.

These measures may not work for every business, however putting these measures in place can prevent having to deal with disgruntled patients/clients/customers, loss of profits and a huge backlog and hours of catch-up once the power and internet connections are restored.

Be prepared but don’t be afraid of the dark.

This article was originally published on Tech Reviewer on 18 April 2014 and can be found here.