Fuel IS a Fail Point in Emergency Planning
Over the past decade, fuel has been in the forefront of discussion in all national and international government conversations. They are discussing the importance of emissions and sulfur/carbon dioxide linked to climate control and global warming. We now need to add the emergency preparedness discussion into this discussion. Fuel is an important part of security of our citizens in the case of a natural disaster.
Where is fuel a fail point in our emergency planning?
The attached image was taken from a hospital in December 2015. If there were a power outage, this hospital would have a generator failure.
There have been hospitals across the country who have faced power outages and issues with their generators operating at normal capacity. These states saw the result of improper planning: California, San Diego, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Michigan and many more across the country.
The Health Facilities Management Association say that 1 in 20 hospitals are not prepared for a power outage. Why do Hospitals’ generators keep failing? The common practice for generator maintenance is to run the fuel for a few minutes every few months. This does not take in to account long term issues with water, microbial contamination, fuel degradation and abnormal temperatures. In turn, the generators fail and lives are at risk.
Many businesses look at the expense of purchasing a generator, which run between $7,000 to well over $100,000 as an expense they can’t afford. The cost of replacing man hours, materials, product and life is more important in deciding to purchase one. Maintaining the fuel in your generator exceeds this in every way.
Commercial and Manufacturing Industries, Automotive, Financial Corporations, IT Services, Data Centers, Perishable Items, Control Centers, Medical Facilities, Military Operations, Hospitality, Entertainment Venues and Safety/Security Companies have $104-$164 Billion in annual losses due to power outages. Forbes said that Power failure was in 10th place for business related losses from 2010-2014.
70% of power outages are caused from weather, yet without a good supply of fuel in backup generators, it causes thousands of people to go without power. New Orleans is one of the biggest examples of fuel being a fail point in emergency planning. With 2 of the 4 generators failing due to contaminated diesel, there was over $1 Million in losses when their biggest pump station lost power. Microbial growth was found in 3 of the 6 bulk storage tanks with their fuel storage. This caused injector and filter clogging.
During the summer, power goes out due to summer storms, lightning and overheating. Many times, people are unprepared for these summer power outages. As winter weather is approaching, states like Ohio, Tennessee, Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Washington have all faced major power outages. This winter is bringing unusually cold and unusually high temperatures to the continental U.S., causing snow storms and tornadoes.
In the face of unknown weather conditions, we need to be aware that Fuel WILL Fail. Even if you are running the generator to make sure it starts, the fuel will break down. Testing your fuel MUST be a part of your emergency plan. There should be a checklist for your facilities management to ensure this is being completed at a minimum once a year. This should be completed more often when the fuel is under extreme climate and temperature conditions.