Recent winter weather has drawn increased attention to a less talked about power problem. With a little planning, hospital staff can smoothly transition through the loss of power; both normal and emergency. We wanted to share the information below with you regarding these types of power outages.
Mark Fratto, P.E., LEED AP
In February of last year, several hospitals in Dallas/Fort Worth lost power during the snow and ice storms. For many, this was unexpected.
In this case, the utility power failed and fortunately hospital emergency generators came on line to provide limited power to critical care areas. While this creates an emergency condition for the medical staff and their patients, there is power available and most facilities have plans to function adequately on limited emergency power.
However, power outages are NOT limited to a loss of normal utility power. While less frequent, there are internal electrical system failures that can and do cause a loss of power to the emergency (red) receptacles and lighting circuits. In some hospitals, areas like surgery and ICU have a limited number of normal (white) receptacles. Some facilities have no white receptacles or normal lighting.
Many hospitals and their medical staff are not prepared for a loss of power to their red receptacles and do not have a plan in place to continue general and critical patient care with limited to no lighting and power from only a limited number of white receptacles.
For patient safety and an effective staff response, Fratto Engineering, Inc. encourages facilities to educate their medical staff about the possiblity of a loss of power to the red receptacles and lighting circuits. Training should be provided so that the staff understands how to provide ongoing care with a limited number of white receptacles and limited lighting.
For more information regarding this issue, please contact us at (817) 461-2337.