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Thursday, June 8, 2017

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Hospital power systems need to run smoothly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no downtime–patient lives depend on it. That's why emergency power systems are so critical. Here are 4 ways you can ensure your health care facility's power systems are in tip-top shape:

1. Test and Maintain: Properly testing and maintaining emergency power supply systems can help ensure reliability during extended power outages. Test equipment in accordance with code requirements and follow manufacturer recommendations for maintenance. Looking for resources to help with these efforts? Download the ASHE monograph, Managing Hospital Emergency Power Systems: Testing, Operation, Maintenance, Vulnerability Mitigation, and Power Failure Planning and FEMA document P-1019: Emergency Power Systems for Critical Facilities: A Best Practices Approach to Improving Reliability.

2. Remote Monitoring: Remote monitoring systems can detect mechanical threats to emergency power systems and automatically send alerts and notifications to facility managers and service teams. Bonus: remote monitoring technologies also provide powerful diagnostic capabilities, enabling remote monitoring service providers to share critically important information about an emergency power system that is failing or has failed with on-site facility managers and service providers. Consider these items for remote monitoring efforts:

  • Fuel levels and fuel consumption rates
  • Battery voltage
  • Coolant temperature
  • Generator exhaust gas temperature
  • Automatic transfer switch operating status
  • Compliance with 10-second start up requirement
  • Oil pressure
  • Generator test results

3. Create an Island: Hospitals can use advanced power generating technologies that allow hospital to "island" themselves from the power grid for extended periods of time. Using cogeneration–also called combined heat power (CHP) systems–and microgrids allow hospitals to use electricity generated from sources on site or near the point of use rather than from centralized utility power plants.

  • CHP systems: This is the most commonly deployed distributed generation technology. In cogeneration, concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating and/or cooling) comes from a single source of energy, primarily natural gas-fired equipment.
  • Microgrids: A microgrid is a localized grouping of electricity sources and loads that normally operates connected to and synchronous with the traditional centralized grid (macrogrid), but that can disconnect and function autonomously as physical or economic conditions dictate.

Click on the image to the right to see a larger version of the chart.

4. Tap into Technology: Other advanced technologies can also help hospitals protect emergency power. Infrared scanners can be used to evaluate concentrations of heat–potential trouble spots–within automatic transfer switches and electrical system components. Dual automatic transfer switch technology allows hospitals to perform critical maintenance to ATS devices without shutting down power.

For more tips on maintaining emergency power in health care facilities, download the free Roadmap to Resiliency monograph. You can also learn more about this important topic at the "Emergency Power Basics for Emergency Preparedness" session on Wednesday during the 54th ASHE Annual Conference.

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