By Angie Stokes
Imagine, if you will, a hospital without power. Maybe a tornado took down the power lines leading to the hospital, or maybe an attack destroyed the power station and the emergency generator is not working. Whatever the reason, the hospital is now extremely limited in its ability to treat patients. Operating room staff are scrambling to find lights, so they can finish surgeries. Nurses are using flashlights while trying to triage patients. Doctors might not be able to access patients’ digital medical records, leaving them unable to provide the best care possible for everyone.
Nobody likes to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s necessary to be prepared. This is especially true for organizations that, in times of crisis, must be ready to respond–such as hospitals and military bases. Both are needed to respond in their own ways, and sadly, can be targeted or impacted by tragic events. They are inextricably linked by their support of each other in times of crisis.
All isn’t doom and gloom, though. There are ways to be prepared, and military bases are proving it. Energy Manager Today’s article US Army Targets Energy Resiliency Through Microgrid Projects, noted that microgrid systems have been on the rise for the military. The Indiana National Guard’s Camp Atterbury announced a plan to install a microgrid.
Locally, the Fort Knox Energy Program has become the most decorated for a base of its size in the world. They have taken multiple steps to achieve 100 percent power security–and if it can be done for an entire base, a hospital can do it too.
Fort Knox ensures that they will have energy no matter the crisis with intentional redundancies of generators and their own microgrid. They can run their entire community on their independent systems. It also means that they have achieved immense energy savings of $8 million per year.
For a hospital to provide care in times of crisis, they must ensure they can meet environmental requirements, including temperatures, humidity ranges and air exchanges in procedure spaces.
No matter what’s happening outside, hospitals are expected to meet these requirements or evacuate patients. An energy independent strategy can avoid this situation and save significant transport costs and lost revenues while also reducing energy costs, making more room in the budget for patient care.
Hospital leaders and employees are no strangers to constant preparedness. They never know who will come in needing help, but they are always ready to treat a patient or help get them to a facility that can. Every hospital can take measures to ensure continuous, quality care for patients–as a part of that, acting to become 100 percent power secure is essential.
-Angie Stokes is the Healthcare Vertical Market Leader at Harshaw Trane in Louisville, Ky.