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Building Operating Management
PAGE Hospitals Look Past Codes To Set Power Reliability Minimums NFPA 110's Fuel Requirements Can Help Guide Backup Power Plan For Hospitals UPS Backup, Automatic Transfer Switches Can Help Keep Health Care Facilities IT, Imaging Equipment Online Co-Gen Plants Can Help Health Care Facilities Stay Online

NFPA 110's Fuel Requirements Can Help Guide Backup Power Plan For Hospitals

By Marina Dishel Health Care Facilities   Article Use Policy

2. A 96-Hour Fuel Supply. Based on NFPA-110 (Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems), hospitals are classified as critical facilities if the seismic design category is C, D, E or F. This triggers a requirement for a minimum of 96 hours of fuel oil (storage) supply for an emergency standby power plant. While some local jurisdictions permit smaller on-premises storage capacity and only require a guarantee that their supply can be replenished within 96 hours, an on-site, four-day minimum supply for new construction is recommended. While fuel oil delivery can be ensured during normal conditions, it cannot be guaranteed in the aftermath of a Sandy-like storm or hurricane.

3. 100 Percent Emergency Backup for OR and ICU. This best practice is becoming more common, but is not yet a standard practice. Currently, code requires a minimum of two separate sources of power to feed each operating room (OR) or intensive care unit (ICU) room — one from the normal power distribution and one from the emergency source. A second approach, which is recommended as standard basis of design and is recognized by code, is to provide both power feeds to each OR and each ICU from emergency sources via two separate automatic transfer switches, which originate from separate building substations, when more than one exists.

4. Additional Systems on Emergency Power. Hospitals should consider providing emergency power for:

  • Cooling. Beyond code, it is recommended to provide emergency power to chiller plant and chiller plant components, as cooling is critical to keeping any hospital up and running during an extended outage. As a minimum, it is recommended to evaluate providing emergency power to enable cooling of ORs, ICUs, patient rooms, central sterile, pharmacies, critical labs and critical modality suites.
  • Central Sterile. It is recommended that equipment associated with central sterile processing (the sterilization of equipment and instruments necessary for surgery) be on emergency power. Also important is to provide emergency power for ventilation of central sterile processing to enable continuous operation during an extended power outage.
  • Imaging. In light of a loss of power for several days instead of just hours, a hospital will need to diagnose patients who will remain in the hospital for treatment. Including imaging suites (not just invasive procedures) on the hospital's emergency backup system is recommended.

5. Provisions for Street Connections. In the past decade, a new best practice has emerged: building permanent provisions for temporary hookup at the exterior of the hospital for steam, power, and domestic and chilled water. Whether in an extended crisis with a total loss of power or simply when a piece of critical equipment malfunctions, an exterior hookup will allow the hospital to bring a boiler, chiller, water truck or portable generator on the street to meet the hospital's load demand on a temporary basis.


posted on 9/18/2013



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