When it comes to power generation for health care facilities providing lifesaving services, there are three prime National Fire Protection Association codes designed to eliminate harm to people and property due to fire, electrical and related hazards. NFPA 70 (the “National Electrical Code” or “NEC”), NFPA 110 (written for emergency and standby power systems) and NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code (NFPA 99) most directly regulate electrical systems.
Co-generation, also known as Combined Heat and Power (CHP), is the on-site production of multiple types of energy — usually electricity, heat and/or cooling — from a single source of fuel. While co-generation is not a new concept, we are seeing renewed interest in CHP systems as a viable way to make facilities more resilient while reducing energy costs and helping to meet sustainability and emissions reduction goals.
The Fort Washington Medical Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland, was the first hospital in the nation in May 2020 to install a modular ICU unit dedicated to the in-patient treatment of people suffering from Covid-19 infection. The STAAT Mod (Strategic, Temporary, Acuity-Adaptable Treatment Modular) units were subsequently installed at six other hospitals in Maryland, and Curtis Power Solutions was selected by the Maryland Department of General Services to provide 17 150 kW generators, automatic transfer switches and fuel tanks to these facilities, another temporary ICU at the Baltimore Convention Center, and two major coronavirus testing stations in the state. Altogether, Curtis Power Solutions currently has 24 units on rent for Covid-19 facilities.
The term “Emergency Generator” is often used incorrectly to describe the generator used to provide backup power to a facility. Officially, as defined by NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC), there are four types of backup or standby power systems: Emergency Systems, Legally Required Standby Systems, Optional Standby Systems and Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS). Understanding the differences among these system classifications is important for determining which codes and standards apply and for what the design, installation, inspection, maintenance and testing requirements are for the backup power system.
A story of a company and its people supporting emergency response
National Fire Protection Association Standard 110 (NFPA 110) is written specifically for emergency and standby power systems and covers installation, maintenance, operation and testing requirements as they pertain to the performance of the emergency power supply system (EPSS). It includes standards related to generators, transfer switches, fuel systems, circuit breakers and other components of the EPSS. The first three chapters of the Standard provide an introduction. Chapters four through eight each address one essential element for compliance.
Residents in assisted living facilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia will have greater assurances of uninterrupted electrical power in the event of loss of grid electricity from natural disasters or other events thanks to a newly enacted law. Senate Bill No. 1077, signed into law on February 21, 2019, requires all assisted living facilities in Virginia to install and maintain adequately sized emergency generators or have the capability to accept mobile generators.