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May 17, 2017 - Emergency Preparedness
By Clayton Costello
Many facilities around the country rely on backup power when a natural disaster occurs. Being prepared through regular service to the backup generator will make sure all systems are still running. Backup power, while critical for hospitals and government facilities, is for anyone who doesn’t want their business to experience downtime due to a hurricane or other natural disaster bringing prime power systems down.
Is your facility prepared for a natural disaster? Can you rest assured the power will stay on? May 15th through the 21st is Hurricane Preparedness Week. The start of hurricane season is around the corner and it’s important that your facility is prepared should one make landfall near your location. These suggestions are not just for hurricanes, but also for tornadoes and other naturally occurring disasters that have the potential to knock out your prime power source.
Backup power sources
The first thing you want to do is make sure that you have a backup generator for your facility. Having the proper equipment in place and ensuring it’s functioning and regularly serviced will mitigate any risks associated with prime power failure. If you don’t have a backup generator in place, reach out to your local generator distributor to have one sized accordingly. Hurricanes or large storms don’t typically wipe out infrastructure, but they can cause widespread power outages for significant periods of time. Tornadoes on the other hand can wipe out the infrastructure and create major delays for getting prime power working again. Having power when a natural disaster occurs is not just for comfort but critical needs as well.
The facility manager needs to make sure the backup generator is getting regularly serviced according to the manufacturer and distributor’s recommendations. Having the generator serviced regularly will deter many of the potential problems that can occur, particularly when a disaster is imminent. These are the components a technician will inspect during a routine generator service:
Annual and semi-annual services are much more detailed. These services include regular preventative maintenance of systems throughout the generator. Semi-annual services include inspection and maintenance to:
It’s also recommended that generators go through annual load bank testing if the unit does not run at 50 percent or greater load at least one hour monthly. Load bank testing will eliminate wet stacking by burning off un-burnt fuel, oil and carbon in the cylinders and exhaust system. It also will exercise and test the unit’s fuel and cooling systems and evaporate moisture from inside the generator and engine.
Additionally, regularly test and make sure the transfer switch is functioning properly. Depending on your facility, have a plan in place to deploy mobile generators to job sites. Those mobile generators should follow the same service schedules as the backup generator.
Imminent danger preparedness
A phone call to the service provider should be the first step. They will walk the facility manager through the steps that need to be taken. This will include firing up the generator and checking for any fault codes. Whether it’s a diesel or natural gas generator, make sure it’s full of fuel or the gas line is working properly. Additional checks to the transfer switch will ensure the backup power will kick in the moment primary power goes down.
With hurricane season starting June 1, it’s important your facility is prepared should a disaster occur in your area. Hurricanes are just a small portion of the potential disasters that can knock out the power. Ensure the lights stay on and all systems are working properly with a backup generator that has been properly serviced and maintained.
Clayton Costello has been working at CK Power for more than five years with a focus in account management and operations. CK Power is a manufacturer of power units and power generation solutions for a variety of markets and customers. In addition to our manufacturing capabilities, CK Power has been a distributor of new and remanufactured diesel and natural gas engines. At CK Power we are more than just a company we are a family of professionals striving to satisfy our customer’s needs.