Hospitals and healthcare facilities are responsible for the health and safety of patients for the duration of their stay. Patients rely on doctors and nursing staff for quality care, while hospital staff rely on systems, equipment, and communication protocols to deliver a positive patient experience. In today’s world of advancing technologies, state-of-the-art medical equipment, and ventilation and filtration systems are designed to prevent infection and airborne viral spread. Everything relies on quality power and resilient electricity to operate efficiently, including critical procedural room equipment down to the elevators and doors.
Because of this, reliable backup and emergency power systems are essential for avoiding power disruptions. Especially in the healthcare industry, where every millisecond matters.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes and Standards
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has published more than 300 codes and standards that facilities must adhere to in order to minimize the possibility of fire and other risks. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are required to adhere to National Electric Code (NEC) 700 and NFPA 110 standards – Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems. These standards cover performance requirements for emergency and standby power systems providing an alternative source of electrical power in buildings and facilities in the event electrical power sources fail.
The requirements of NFPA 110 cover installation, operation, maintenance, and testing, which can be found in direct reference in several major codes and standards including NFPA 101, NFPA 99, the NEC, and the International Building Code.
Installation: Resiliency and Compliance
In order to successfully install and maintain resilient and compliant emergency power supply systems (EPSS), factors such as location (indoor vs. outdoor), protection, lighting, noise, and fuel storage should be taken into consideration.
Emergency Power Supply Systems are utilized during power outages typically caused by flooding, earthquakes, fires, winter storms, or other natural disasters. When determining the location of the EPSS, requirements include:
- Indoor installations should be put in a separate room with a 2-hour fire resistance rating (FRR).
- Outdoor systems should be installed alone inside an enclosed space to protect against rain, wind, snow, and other extreme weather conditions.
Another major obstacle when installing an EPSS is achieving compliance when storing the amount of fuel required for the system’s NFPA 110 Classification (the minimum time the EPSS is designed to operate at its full rated load without being refueled or recharged). The facility’s seismic category – low seismic risk (A) to very high seismic risk (F) – will also determine fuel storage capacity.
The fuel tank must be sized to carry 133% of the fuel needed according to the EPSS Classification. Regular fuel maintenance testing is recommended to ensure compliance.
Inspections, Testing, and Maintenance
Each emergency power system is designed with several components including power sources, transfer switch equipment, load terminals, and fuel storage tanks. Every component that makes up these systems is required to run properly for reliable power. Running proactive maintenance on these systems, including routine inspections and system testing, is required for proper performance. It is important to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions as well as any specific requirements when performing inspections, testing, and maintenance (ITM).
In general, emergency power systems should be inspected weekly, exercised monthly, and tested at least once every 36 months. Stark Tech has specialized technicians certified and trained to maintain and service these systems.
Digitization: Electrical Distribution Network
Monitoring the power quality of the electrical distribution network within hospital infrastructure is critical to understanding the resiliency and reliability of the power distribution within the facility. Power Monitoring can help maximize the reliability of your network and achieve operational efficiencies while maintaining the highest level of patient care.
Monitoring power quality helps facilities analyze, troubleshoot, and make informed decisions through data collection from generation and transmission using a smart grid, which can control and automate demand response and energy efficiency.
Download the Stark Tech power monitoring software brochure.
Stark Tech specializes in mission critical applications, working together with healthcare leaders and engineers to design and implement customizable hardware, software, and professional services to meet a client’s specific needs. Stark Tech’s Critical Power team works with our customer base to maximize operational, deployment, and lifetime efficiencies of critical power equipment. Our mission is to optimize business continuity, simplify regulatory compliance, and most importantly, protect occupants and assets. When paired together with local support and service, our comprehensive critical power capabilities create a unique customer experience.