Hurricane Matthew Touches Down in Florida: Are Your Facilities Ready?

  October 7, 2016

By Dave Lubach

As Hurricane Matthew attacks the Eastern seaboard along Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, maintenance and engineering managers are no doubt scrambling to ensure that their institutional and commercial facilities in the path of the storm are prepared to handle any issues that emerge.

Officials at one healthcare facility in Charleston, S.C., are probably feeling a bit more comfortable this weekend as Matthew barrels toward them after spending $40.5 million in upgrades to relocate and protect key facility systems from floodwaters was completed.

The flood protection upgrades delivered savings in terms of lower costs and less maintenance work, reducing technician labor more than $30,000 annually and energy savings $75,000 annually at the Medical University of South Carolina. And more importantly, as they learned almost immediately, the facility saved millions on repairs and replacing costly equipment, flood damage, and a potential life-impacting shutdown of the facility.

Facility Maintenance Decisions Editor-in-Chief Dan Hounsell profiled the medical university’s project in an April 2016 cover story. Click here for the article.

The projects were completed in 2014, and were put to the test in October 2015 when 15-20 inches of rain drenched the Charleston area, resulting in flash flooding and significant property damage. But the medical university experienced no issues despite the historic rainfall.

“The projects absolutely performed as intended,” says David Dement director of facilities. “What they really did was allow us to take our focus off things that would have consumed an enormous amount of energy. If we had not done the upgrades when the event had occurred, we would have spent an enormous amount of energy and money to try to protect stuff that was still in the flood zone.”

As hundreds of institutional and commercial facilities prepare to absorb Matthew’s wrath, we hope they are just as prepared.

This quick read was submitted by Dave Lubach, associate editor for Facility Maintenance Decisions. Reach him at dave.lubach@tradepress.com.


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