Hospital power systems need to run smoothly every minute of every day. Facility managers often are looking for best practices to safeguard emergency power and protect vulnerable patients. The topic will be discussed at the 54th ASHE Annual Conference Aug. 6-9 in Indianapolis, and is also the subject of a recent ASHE monograph, “Roadmap to Resiliency.” Below are four ways to protect power in health care facilities: 

  • Test and maintain. Properly testing and maintaining emergency power supply systems can help to ensure reliability during extended power outages. Test equipment according to code requirements and follow manufacturer recommendations for maintenance. Download the ASHE monograph, “Managing Hospital Emergency Power Systems: Testing, Operation, Maintenance, Vulnerability Mitigation, and Power Failure Planning” and the Federal Emergency Management Agency document P-1019: “Emergency Power Systems for Critical Facilities: A Best Practices Approach to Improving Reliability.” 
  • Remote monitoring. Remote monitoring systems can detect mechanical threats to emergency power systems and automatically send alerts and notifications to facility managers and service teams. These technologies also provide diagnostic capabilities, enabling remote-monitoring service providers to share critically important information with on-site staff about an emergency power system that is failing or has failed. Consider these items for remote-monitoring efforts: Fuel levels and fuel consumption rates, battery voltage, coolant temperature, generator exhaust gas temperature, automatic transfer-switch operating status, compliance with 10-second startup requirement, oil pressure and generator test results.
  • Create an island. Hospitals can use advanced power-generating technologies that allow hospitals to “island” themselves from the power grid for extended periods. Using cogeneration — also called combined heat and power systems — and microgrids allows hospitals to use electricity generated from sources on-site or near the point of use rather than from centralized utility power plants. 
  • Tap into technology. Other advanced technologies also can help hospitals to protect emergency power. Infrared scanners can be used to evaluate concentrations of heat — potential trouble spots — within automatic transfer switches (ATSs) and electrical system components. Dual ATS technology allows hospitals to perform critical maintenance to ATS devices without shutting down power. 

Visit ASHE online to download the “Roadmap to Resiliency” and other ASHE monographs and register for the conference.

Deanna Martin is the membership and communications director at the American Society for Healthcare Engineering.


Important monographs available from ASHE

Following are two recently released monographs that can be accessed by ASHE members as free PDFs at the resource library.

  • Promoting the Value of The Facility Department to the C-Suite. This monograph gives strategies and real-world examples of facility professionals who have successfully shown the value of their departments to organizational leaders.
  • Risk Assessment of Medical Equipment. A key part of the Joint Commission’s environment of care management plans, risk assessments of medical equipment are covered in this new ASHE monograph. It presents a framework for facilities professionals to follow.

Design guidelines available to industry through ASHE

The 2014 editions of the Facility Guidelines Institute’s Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities and the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities can be purchased at