The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) is partnering with Powered for Patients on a Department of Homeland Security-funded project to help ensure hospital safety during disasters.

The project seeks to leverage fault-detection and automated-reporting technologies to provide real-time alerts to government officials and utilities anytime emergency power in a hospital is threatened during a disaster. ASHE will be providing important input on a new voluntary protocol and best practice to guide how hospitals will share this vital information. 

ASHE is seeking members who are currently using fault-detection and automated-reporting technology for their emergency power systems to actively engage in the initiative in two ways. First, by engaging in discussions, ASHE members can help shape the voluntary protocol on sharing real-time emergency power system status reports. Second, members also can volunteer as test sites for a pilot project administered by Powered for Patients. The project will test the real-time data sharing process of facilities across the U.S. during the second quarter of 2019.   

One valuable and immediate outcome of engagement in this project will be better coordination between ASHE members, their state and local governments, and utilities in terms of addressing threats to emergency power. 

Long-term goals of the project include:

  • In a presidentially declared disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deploy temporary generators and generator fuel at the request of a governor or state emergency management agency director to assist hospitals and other critical facilities with failing generators. Some states and larger cities have their own caches of emergency generators and generator fuel that can be deployed, oftentimes without the need for a presidential declaration. Regardless of whether a federal, state or local emergency power asset is deployed, the sooner a facility notifies a government official of a threat to emergency power, the faster a deployment can be made.
  • When a disaster impacts roads or forces government to limit private vehicle traffic, government vehicles may be available to help generator service or fuel providers get to client sites that would otherwise be inaccessible. 
  • Early warning to government officials allows evacuation planning to begin just in case emergency power can’t be repaired and an evacuation becomes necessary.
  • With early warning notice of a threat to emergency power, utilities can work to shift restoration priorities to restore utility power before a facility loses emergency power. 

If you’re interested in participating in this important project, you are invited to join a roundtable discussion at the ASHE International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction (PDC) Summit in Phoenix on Mon., March 18 at a time to be announced. This conversation will provide an opportunity for ASHE members to discuss the project face-to-face with fellow facility managers, project leaders from Powered for Patients and ASHE along with leading fault-detection technology providers.   

Space will be limited at the March 18 PDC meeting, so members are encouraged to contact Powered for Patient Director Eric Cote to RSVP early for this meeting. However, you don’t need to wait until the PDC roundtable to engage in this important project. Anyone interested in attending the meeting or getting involved is encouraged to contact Cote at cote@poweredforpatients.org or by calling 401-374-8500.