Blizzards. Ice Storms. Hurricanes. Floods. New Jersey residents are used to being buffeted by Mother Nature. But increasingly, it seems, the impact of such storms has lingered long after the weather front blows through, with hundreds or thousands of residents left in the dark. Beyond the inconvenience—the loss of modern-day necessities like television and air conditioning—power outages can wreak havoc on condominium residents.
According to the Eaton Corporation’s blackout tracker last year in New Jersey 1,535,103 Garden state residents were affected by 107 outages. The causes of these outages range from extreme weather to faulty equipment to vehicle accidents. On October 29, an early snowstorm caused outages for 200,000 people in the River Dell area in Bergen County.
In times of emergency, like a power outage due to foul weather or a fire in the building, certain aspects of many multifamily structures must function properly; steps must be free and clear so people can use them, and doors to stairways must function. In larger buildings, common areas, corridors and elevators usually are illuminated through the power provided by an emergency generator.
“Last year in the United States over 40 million people lost power. Literally millions and millions of people are affected by power outages,” says Gary Moody of Silent Standby Power Supply LLC, a nationwide distributor of battery powered generators.“This is nothing new—power goes out all the time—but in the worst-case scenario of power outages, it can be life threatening.”
While generators sometimes are required by code in high-rise buildings serviced by elevators to ensure residents can be evacuated safely—not all condominiums have backup power for any of life’s more mundane services like heat, refrigeration or even lighting.