Can Healthcare Facilities Use Both Gas and Battery Generators?

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Can You Use a Battery-Powered Generator if You Already Have a Fuel-Powered Generator?

Both fuel-powered and battery powered generators are commonly used together. When used in concert, each can cover any potential weaknesses the other one has. As discussed in this learning center post on the pros and cons of fuel generators, they can be quite an appealing and effective backup option for hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and smaller health clinics alike.

Their ability to generate enormous amounts of power and presence as a mature legacy technology has resulted in global, widespread use. But, as discussed in that other post, there are potential tradeoffs. The biggest among these are large delays when deploying fuel generators.

Fuel powered generators can take around five to ten minutes to engage, though older systems can often take up to fifteen minutes. In a healthcare setting this can prove to be disastrous.

For example, in 2011, forced blackouts in North Texas resulted in about 20 hospitals losing power. To make matters worse, it occurred during an unexpected winter cold snap. Steve Love, CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council recalls "millions of dollars’ worth of equipment damaged". A blown HVAC system causing a hospital fire. And, worst of all, power being cut off in the middle of open-heart surgery.

All facilities eventually transitioned onto backup power. But much of the computer and hospital equipment was disrupted for multiple minutes. The fuel generators had yet to fully engaged. While no one died or sustained severe injuries, multiple minutes without a source of power can have deadly consequences.

A battery powered generator is the perfect solution to offset the drawbacks of fuel power. With their instant transfer switches, a battery backup system can supply power in milliseconds.

Can I use a Battery Generator Power as a “Bridge” to a Gas Generator?

The most common way battery powered generators can be used to aid fuel generators is by acting as a “bridge” power source. By leveraging the instant nature of battery backup power, you can ensure that your facility continues to operate in the time between when the power goes out and your fuel generator takes over. This gap is known as the "time interval".

Battery backup power is commonly used in hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and office-based outpatient surgery practices for this exact purpose. While there is not any one correct amount of backup power, these facilities often use bridge power sources to meet accreditation requirements.

Each accrediting body has their own standards and minimums. Because of this, only your facility will know exactly what standards they will need to meet. However, NFPA99 standards —which many accrediting bodies follow—allow for a maximum ten second time interval between a power outage and transfer to an alternate power. But many modern appliances will shut down in under a second—much less the ten seconds or a few minutes it may take a fuel powered generator.

For this purpose, a battery powered generator can:

  • Integrate seamlessly into your facilities electrical circuit
  • Activate in fractions of a seconds
  • Power your most vital equipment for as long as you need whether it’s seconds or minutes
  • Ensure compliance with all regulatory and accreditation standards

What Battery Backup System is Best for Bridge Power?

When deciding on a transitional power source, flexibility is key. Medi-Products entire lineup can supply instant and reliable power anywhere. But, depending on where you think you will need it most, one may be better suited to your needs.

Standalone: Standalone systems are the perfect solution for when you have a whole room of equipment that needs backing up. They do not require an electrician to install. instead, appliances plug directly into the outlets on the cabinet while the UPS plugs into a normal wall outlet. Once an outage occurs, the battery backup system instantly takes over. And, if you change facilities or need to rearrange things, all you need to do is re-mount a standalone system in a new location.

Hardwired: For when you need to power multiple appliances, in separate locations across your facility. Our hardwired system seamlessly integrates into your facilities existing electrical panel. They supply power directly to the outlets you need to ensure continued operation. But they will need an electrician to wire them into your buildings electrical panel.

Type 1 EES: For ASCs and facilities who need a Medicare qualifying Type 1 EES. This system is an upgraded version of our hardwired system. Its added features include failsafe relays for the critical and life safety circuit panels. This is to achieve system redundancy.

Mobile: Supplying on-the-go power anywhere in your facility, mobile systems allow for ultimate flexibility. With the ability to be carted around, you can ensure that power is brought directly to wherever and whenever without the need for any assembly or electrician.

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