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volume 13 number 8 august 2008 TipSheet

Welcome to a SPECIAL August issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This issue will address the approach of Hurricane Fay.

Tip 623   HURRICANE FAY Category:   DISASTER

In preparation for the approach of this storm, MicroMetric, Inc., we are taking an opportunity to pass along contact information in case you need computer assistance for storm computer preparations or recover.

To reach us during normal business hours, call 377.2515

After hours numbers:

Some questions you should ask are.

  • Is all of you data backed up?
  • Do you have a backup off site?
  • Do you have UPSs protecting all of your hardware for short power outages 
  • What are your plans if you do not have power after the storm?
  • Is your hardware safe from the rain, storm surge, and flooding?
  • Should you move computers to another location?
  • Do you need your computer systems if your building is heavily damaged or destroyed?

  • Here is some information for preparing for a storm

    Personal safety should always take priority over computer equipment and software when preparing for a storm. Once personal safety is ensured and if adequate time remains before the storm is expected to arrive, some time may be allotted to protection of computer equipment and software.

    To ensure the safety of your data, the most recent backup should be taken off-site, to a secure location.

    The major cause of damage to computer hardware and software will be from rain and wind. Broken doors and windows will allow the wind with its rain and debris to whistle through buildings. By moving computer equipment (i.e. monitors, CPUs, printers, keyboards) to protected locations and wrapping with plastic, the chances of damage will be greatly reduced.

    To select a protected location, survey the room in question. Try to determine what would occur if the window broke and allowed the wind and rain to enter. Naturally the wind that enters through a broken window has to exit somewhere -- which could be through a door, a ceiling (roof), or another window. This creates a wind-tunnel effect in the room. As a result the computer equipment can not only be damaged by the rain, but also by airborne articles flying around the room.

    Computer equipment can be stored in any number of locations:
  • in the corner of a room, out of the path of possible wind drafts, or
  • a closet or small windowless room.

  • There are four additional precautions that can be taken to minimize damage.

  • Double wrap equipment in plastic garbage bags to reduce rain/water damage.
  • Bear in mind that a collapsing ceiling or roof can send potentially damaging debris falling on your equipment; locate equipment under a sturdy desk or piece of furniture that could possibly withstand the effects of falling debris.
  • If equipment is to be located directly on the floor, take into consideration the possible effects of flooding. Placing equipment on or in water resistant objects, such as garbage cans, may be appropriate.
  • Last and probably most important -- unplug your computer equipment. As a major storm begins to pummel the area, the chances of severe power fluctuations are very high as electrical transmission lines and power plants are affected. These power fluctuations can have extremely serious consequences for any equipment left plugged in or turned on.


    In the aftermath of a hurricane the size of Andrew, the difficulty of everyday living is going to seem mind-numbing.
    In all the resulting confusion, three basic principles need to be remembered.
  • Protect any valuable equipment or software from looters.
  • Do not plug in any equipment that may be water damaged.
  • If undamaged computers and power are available, be very careful of power spikes and surges that can take place during the cleanup process. Caution should also be used when running a computer on power supplied by a generator -- this "unclean" power source can be riddled with power spikes, voltage drops, and surges.


    The most destructive element of a hurricane is most often the storm surge that inundates the targeted costal area. Hurricane Andrew's storm surge was relatively minor for the size and fury involved; the majority of damage was done by storm-generated wind. The wind can drive rain into the smallest of places with ease. In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, a great deal of computer equipment was soaked with water. But that was not all: in some cases, the rain also was heavily laden with a very fine talc-like powder or grit. Many types of equipment other as CPUs, printers, modems, floppy drives, keyboards, mice, monitors, and scanners do not tolerate water well, but when adding a fine grit, additional problems can develop. The water-borne grit can coat the insides of keyboards and such equipment, making them non-functional. At this point many hours of cleaning will be required to make such equipment usable.  

    Before undertaking any cleaning of computer equipment the following three questions should be addressed:

  • Is the warranty in effect for this equipment?
  • Will the warranty be voided by this action?
  • Is a professional technical person available to do the required work? A great deal of thought should be used when contemplating cleaning any type of equipment. Many types of equipment can retain a powerful charge of stored electricity (in capacitors) for long periods of time after the power has been disconnected. For example, power supplies and monitors can contain potentially dangerous or fatal charges of electricity that can effect an unaware person who is attempting to cleanup. It is strongly recommended that only a qualified technical person undertake the process of salvaging or cleaning a power supply or monitor.

  • Copyright 2008, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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