Protecting Emergency Power Reliability

September 12, 2013

Protecting Emergency Power Reliability

In addition to the many things a facilities manager must do to improve the emergency preparedness of his or her operation, decreasing the power vulnerabilities while increasing reliabilities in the event of a disaster are a must.

This is a huge expectation, especially given the power of massive storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy, the second most costly tropical storm in U.S. history.

However, some professionals still cling to the notion that emergency power, especially for health care facilities, must be uninterruptible and never fail, an impossible guarantee for anyone to make.

The problem: Testing emergency power loads on a monthly basis never includes normal utility power loss (leading to miniscule power source transfer times), which fosters inaccurate expectations in the minds of some health care professionals.

That’s why it’s vitally important for facilities managers to spend the extra time with health care professionals, particularly in critical care areas, to explain the different ways their electrical power systems can fail. For example, an essential electrical system (EES) may still be online, but normal power to equipment or a space may be interrupted, or the opposite may be true.

Some health experts say, the real trick to protecting emergency power systems is looking at them from a fresher perspective. Besides, it’s impossible for a facilities manager to correct what he or she hasn’t begun to identify.

Take a holistic approach to protect your facility from future power problems. First, a facilities manager must look at the demands every component requires to operate. Then, he/she must consider all the situations that could lead to failure, including those that will affect redundant systems, too. After these things have been done, the facilities manager can begin to tackle common, but potential, failures.

An important way to protect your facility’s emergency power systems: Routine maintenance of all components is instrumental in reducing typical wear-and-tear that can lead to unexpected failure.

The most important thing to remember about preparing for emergencies isn’t what is written in a plan, says William B. Copes, Vice President of Business Development. “Practice, practice, practice is critical.”

For more information about bolstering emergency power reliability plans at your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.