As a nursing home administrator, keeping your residents safe and comfortable is your highest priority. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place in case disaster strikes and the power is out for a sustained period of time. Some nursing homes have evacuation plans in place, while some shelter in place with a backup generator. Many nursing homes probably have a mixture of both for different situations.
Regardless of the specifics of your disaster plan, you may be worried about the recent additions to Florida’s nursing home generator regulations. Several of the requirements may seem vague and difficult to interpret for someone who isn’t an electrical contractor.
Keep in mind, the law has not passed yet so there are no hard set rules – yet. There are about 10 different proposed bills, some with slightly different requirements (for example the requirements regarding the type of fuel). However, we’d like to present the way an electrical contractor can help you comply with Florida’s nursing home generator rules in preparation for the law being passed and so that you are prepared for the next hurricane season.
Avoiding Disaster With a Backup Generator
These new regulations didn’t come out of nowhere. Their impetus comes from the tragedy that happened at a nursing home in Hollywood Hills, Florida after hurricane Irma knocked out power to the building for several days. 14 elderly patients died from heat-related issues; some went into a medical emergency facility only a day after the power went out.
It’s not fair to criticize from a distance, but in this case, it’s clear that if the nursing home had installed a proper backup generator, this tragedy could have been avoided. Governor Rick Scott agreed, and that’s why he put these rules into place. So, what exactly are these new regulations and what does this mean for you?
Florida’s Nursing Home Generator Regulations
On their face these new regulations are fairly simple, nursing homes are required to have backup generators that can power the air conditioning for at least 96 hours after the power goes out.
The current status of Florida’s nursing home generator regulations is still a bit shaky, but Governor Rick Scott and several other lawmakers have expressed their plans to move forward and make these regulations permanent. Don’t count on them simply disappearing.
What this means is that you need to be prepared. You need to know your responsibilities under the new regulations, the timetable for compliance, and the penalties for violating these regulations.
Making Sense of These New Rules
The main thrust of the nursing home and assisted living generator regulations is that such facilities are now required to install a backup generator that can provide power for at least 96 hours. The original deadline for having this backup generator in place was November 15th, 2017. This extremely tight deadline proved to be difficult to meet, however, and in most cases you can get a 180-day extension on this, putting the deadline at April 14th, 2018.
The penalty for noncompliance with Florida’s nursing home generator regulations is no joke; you could be fined up to $1,000 a day. April may seem a long way off, but designing and installing a generator that complies with the new regulations can take quite some time depending on how large your facility is and what your power needs are. The sooner you get started, the better.
What do You do Now?
So you know what you need to do and what happens if you don’t do it, but how exactly do you go about installing a generator that meets these requirements? It’s not as easy as buying a generator, sticking it in the closet, and calling it a day.
There are many considerations when designing and installing a backup generator of this size. Powering a backup generator for 96 hours will typically require a diesel tank with a capacity of between 8,000 to 15,000 gallons. A diesel storage tank has safety regulations of its own. Design and planning are required to determine the appropriate location of the generator. You may even need to make modifications to your building for the generator and fuel storage. An electrical contractor will work with a general contractor to ensure the building modifications are sound and building codes are met.
Once you have all that sorted out, you still need to register it with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and make sure it complies with rules set out by a number other local regulatory bodies.
The list of things you have to do before you install and use the generator can seem endless and daunting. You can go here to read a little more about the various requirements.
Choosing the Right Electrical Contractor
The bottom line is that you are going to need some outside help, preferably from an electrical contractor that has experience designing and installing generators in commercial buildings and healthcare facilities. Eau Gallie Electric is that contractor.
You need an electrical contractor with generator system design engineering expertise. Look for these qualifications:
- State Certified Unlimited Electrical Contractors and General Contractors, allowing them to bid out the project in days as opposed to weeks
- Able to conduct a study of the existing building to determine generator size, fuel requirements, space requirements, and considerations for future expansion
- Will help file the necessary building permits
- Prices out several different scenarios to determine the most cost-effective
- Designs and builds under one company, saving the overhead associated with several layers of contractors and designers
- Responds to your request for a consultation quickly and maps out the project in a short timeframe
- Able to draft plans for the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
Eau Gallie Electric has been dealing with the complicated process of designing and installing generators since 1948. We have installed hundreds of generators for federal, state and local governments along with private businesses. Eau Gallie Electric keeps the pricing, design, and contracting processes all under one umbrella, reducing the overhead and allowing work to be done faster and at a lower cost.
The facility owner will be required to hire an electrical engineer to draft plans for the ACHA. Eau Gallie Electric does this for you and it is one of the major ways we save you money. We can get the ball rolling on your project right away, and you will be in compliance with Florida’s nursing home generator regulations, giving you and your residents peace of mind.
If you’re looking for an electrical engineer and contractor that can help you design and install a backup generator that fully complies with Florida’s nursing home generator regulations then don’t put it off until tomorrow, give us a call or contact us online right away.