Over the next couple of days, the weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse. We wrote up a few points to consider when it comes to your product's safety during extreme weather. If you are in Canada or Miami Beach, keeping your environment at the correct temperature is very, very important.
Since keeping the cold chain cold (for the most part) requires electricity, power outages are usually one of the greatest concern for our customers. Power outages can leave products in an unstable environment for extended periods of time, and power outages typically occur more frequently during extreme weather. Not to mention, when the power does go out, getting to your facility can be much tougher in extreme weather. How do you ensure your product is "all good" when the power goes out? Abide by these three things:
- Have a robust alarming system in place, ready to go.
- Make sure everyone in your facility knows the emergency plan of action.
- Understand the in's and out's of your regulatory agencies policy on emergency situations.
Dickson’s wireless monitoring system, DicksonOne, allows you to customize who receives which alarms (text, email, phone call) for each individual logger or location. For example, during a winter storm, you may want person X, who is only a few miles from your facility, to investigate out of range temperature alarms or power outage notifications. During periods of relative calm, someone else may be the one who is designated to receive the alarms.
Extremely hot or cold temperatures can cause HVAC failures in your facility, plain and simple. How do you guard against these failures? It’s tough, but temperature mapping your facility is a start. After that, we recommend placing data loggers with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or cellular connectivity which can alarm you to failures, at key points in your HVAC system. Also, knowing which areas of your facility stay cold for the shortest and longest amount of time will help you place your finished goods in the most practical location during extreme weather conditions.
Before nasty weather hits, you should understand not only how your products will be harmed inside your facility, but how they will be affected outside of it as well. Transportation is an interesting problem to tackle, because extreme weather may hit you, but not your consumers. Also, some companies don’t necessarily distribute their own products to consumers, but rather distribute them through a third party. We advise the following:
- Test how your products packaging reacts to temperature over time (Mean Kinetic Temperature will help here).
- Lay out action plans with your shipping or logistics partner to maintain the cold chain.
- Check lines of communication, and make sure you are in the loop with everyone who could be affected.
Have a backup plan! During a blizzard, thunderstorm, or hurricane, your product may be compromised if you keep it in its current environment, whether that is in your vaccine fridge or food freezer. Extreme weather situations call for a backup plan, or a course of action that will alert and guide specific individuals in your company on how to properly move products, and where to move them. This usually includes placing temporary backup data loggers in coolers, ice baths, or whatever you are using to store your product safely during an adverse event. Furthermore, having a backup Product Quality Manager (in case your normal guy/gal is stuck under 6 feet of snow) isn't a bad idea either.