Meeting NFPA-110 Requirements To Ensure Healthcare Standby Power

Maintaining a consistent power supply in all industries is crucial, but when power is lost in a medical facility, the lives of seriously ill and injured people are at dire risk. Hospitals, healthcare facilities and even in-home care networks rely on electricity, water pressure, heating and cooling, communications systems, and the ability to access patient data and sterilize instruments to keep patients stabilized and alive.

In 2003, the blackout that affected the Northeastern part of the United States left approximately 45 million people in eight states without power. In many cases Doctors and staff were unable to provide even simple care.  Viewing X-rays, registering patients, perform vital procedures and even transporting patients and supplies between floors due became difficult or impossible. The blackout proved to be a critical reminder and a wake up call for the healthcare industry and emergency planners.

The aging grid infrastructure, increased power consumption and increasingly unpredictable weather conditions have made power outages a more common occurrence. Most modern medical facilities have backup power generators to prevent life threatening interruptions but are those backup systems ready to go in the event of an emergency?

In order to better regulate standby critical power systems within health care facilities, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) established stringent requirements for generator and standby power system testing.  One such standard is the NFPA-110.

NFPA-110 – the Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems provides specific requirements for testing of an emergency generator (one carrying National Electrical Code 700 loads).  The standard requires the provision for an alternate source of electrical power in buildings and facilities in the event a normal electrical power source fails. Systems include power sources, transfer equipment, controls, supervisory equipment, and accessory equipment.

NFPA 110 ensures a high degree of reliability that the emergency backup power systems will perform as required. While compliance with this code is required for any emergency system, the greatest attention to the NFPA 110 is seen in the healthcare industry. This is being driven, in part, from additional oversight by the Joint Commission, an independent non-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

Section of the code calls for the maintenance of lead-acid batteries, including the monthly testing and recording of electrolyte-specific gravity (when applicable or warranted) or battery conductance testing.

Utilizing patented conductance-based technology,  Franklin Electric offers a multitude of tools to assure compliance with NFPA-110 (and many other such regulations), most notably the CELLTRON GENSTART and the CELLTRON ADVANTAGE battery testers. 

The CELLTRON Genstart saves time and money with improved battery and battery pack diagnostic accuracy. It quickly identifies generator or diesel starting battery health and identifies potential battery problems before they occur.  The CELLTRON Genstart is best used with commercial generators with 12/24-volt electrical systems.

The CELLTRON Advantage is an advanced tool that offers the same features as the CELLTRON Genstart with the addition of more customizable, flexible and efficient battery management.  The CELLTRON Advantage is capable of testing Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) and Vented Lead Acid (VLA) batteries. It is capable of providing battery voltage down to one volt and measures inter-cell and terminal connection resistance.

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