What Can We Learn from LAX’s June 5 Blackout?

Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter.

Like LAX’s malfunctioning ATS (auto transfer switch), a tiny switch that accidentally caused one of the longest blackouts and most frustrated group of travelers in LAX history earlier this month.

You’ve probably heard the details of those chaotic four hours on June 5: the instant, airport-wide darkness that shocked both LAX travelers and staff, the Twitter storm of frustration as passengers’ planes were delayed again and again, the stress of the airport’s staff who couldn’t even use their computers to reschedule flights or check for updates, and finally the hundreds of people who had to go through security again after power was restored.

But here’s the thing about the LAX blackout:

If that little ATS switch had been professionally inspected every month, this whole nightmare scenario (and LAX’s ensuing negative publicity storm) could have been prevented.

So here’s the lesson we can take from the LAX blackout:

Regular ATS maintenance isn’t just for airports. 

In fact, you probably already have an ATS in your building; it’s the switch that “senses” when your usual power source loses connection and immediately transfers your power load to a backup generator. This seamless transfer is essential for many businesses, including data towers, manufacturing plants, and (most of all) healthcare facilities, where continuous electricity really can be a matter of life and death.   

So if you don’t already have an ATS, get one (here’s why). But remember to maintain it regularly; if this switch is neglected and consequently malfunctions as LAX’s did, your building will lose all connection to a power source and you’ll be left in the dark.

Fortunately, you can easily avoid making the same mistake. And you hardly have to do anything yourself — just schedule a professional, like one of our experienced technicians, to inspect and test your ATS switch every month according to the National Fire Protection Association Code.

So if you haven’t thought much about your ATS switch for a while, just call us up at 1-800-899-3931 or send us a message; we’ll be happy to keep your switch up-to-code and your business’s electricity running smoothly!

P.S. Happy travels — we’re pretty sure LAX will never make that same mistake again!

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