Governor Scott Mandates Florida Nursing Homes To Have Backup Power System

Hurricane Irma was devastating for the state of Florida. Worst of all, the power outages that accompanied Irma’s wake caused several deaths in Florida nursing homes. Some of these deaths were due to loss of power, loss of climate control, and various medical machines ceasing to operate. While many nursing homes and assisted living facilities were equipped with systems that helped keep the lights on, the generators were not powerful enough to power air conditioning units and medical devices. Many people are outraged by the lack of adequate backup power generators that would have prevented these deaths from occurring. After all, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are required to have backup power systems to avoid exactly this sort of situation. In response to these deaths, Governor Scott has mandated that Florida nursing homes must have backup power systems and that they are installed in the next 60 days. This is a tall order, as the installation of these high-powered generators can take between four and six months. But, with the help of a company like Eau Gallie Electric the installation of the necessary generator can be seamless, quick, and cost-effective.

Governor Scott’s Mandate

Following the unnecessary deaths of elderly Floridians, Governor Rick Scott enacted a mandate for the health and safety of the state’s elderly population. This mandate states that all Florida nursing homes must be equipped with backup power systems capable of powering medical devices and climate control systems in the event of a prolonged power outage. Further, these generators need to be in place within the next sixty days. This is pretty jarring considering that the size of generator generally takes between 15-20 weeks just to be delivered from the manufacturer. In addition, the planning, engineering, and logistics of installing these can take an additional nine to 12 weeks. The process of installing these generators is much more involved than many people realize. The governor’s mandate calls for 96 hours of fuel for the generator, typically resulting in a diesel tank size between 8,000-15,000 gallons depending on the size of the generator. The fuel tank needs to be registered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and tested to their standards before being put into service (and thereafter inspected every year). The generator enclosure needs to be wind and impact rated, which typically requires a specially engineered and built enclosure, typically acquired through a third-party supplier. The site needs to be prepared and underground conduits installed before the generator arrives. One or more automatic transfer switches need to be installed, which will require a power shutdown of the facility for several hours to several days, depending on the equipment selected. Building department reviews, ACHA permitting, surveys, fire marshal approvals, and many local ordinances for aesthetics and noise levels all add to the complicated process of installing a generator.

To be compliant with this new law, traditionally owners of assisted living facilities and nursing homes would need to hire an engineering and design firm to get the process started. The design engineer will conduct a study of the existing building to determine generator size, fuel requirements, space requirements, and considerations for future expansion. This process usually takes between 3-6 weeks at a minimum to produce drawings and specifications for the generator. Next comes the contractor bidding process which can take another three weeks or more. The owner will have to compare the contractor proposals and try to decide themselves if the contractor is knowledgeable in generator installations and if their pricing is acceptable. Once a contractor is selected, the permitting process can start which can take weeks or even months ins some jurisdictions. Typically, this process can start while the contractor is waiting for the generator to arrive from the manufacturer, which in most cases is 15-25 weeks. Depending on the complexity of the project, the actual install can take three to six weeks or more. With the thousands of nursing homes and elderly-care facilities in the state, manufacturers and contractor alike will likely be overloaded with installations (especially with such a short timeline given by the state). 

Choosing an Experienced Market-leading Installer

This tight deadline may send some nursing homes and assisted living facilities into a panic. Getting a plan in place can be a daunting task, couple that with a hefty fine of $1,000 per day of noncompliance or license revocation has caused many elder-care facilities scrambling. As of November 13th, more than 1,250 nursing homes had not responded to the requirements of this new mandate and it’s not hard to understand why. The basic costs and installation times are hard enough for a nursing home administrator to figure out; much less how to write a technical variance paper to state inspection officials. These are both tasks that Eau Gallie Electric are well versed in. Even choosing a company to deal with most of the moving parts of designing and installing a backup generator is difficult. Since 1948 Eau Gallie Electric has brought exactly this capability to our customers. We have literally installed hundreds of generators for federal, state and local governments, and countless private business.

Eau Gallie Electric is a unique electrical company for many reasons. Most importantly is their breadth of experience in design, engineering, contracting, and maintenance of generators. Chris Hughes is a Registered Professional Electrical Engineer, which enables him to do all the designing and electrical engineering in less time and cost than large firms. They are also State Certified Unlimited Electrical Contractors and General Contractors so they can bid out the project in days as opposed to weeks and get started faster than any other electrical company. Because Eau Gallie Electric represents all aspects of a project, they create the design with cost in mind, often pricing out several different scenarios to determine the most cost-effective. Designing and building a job under one company saves the overhead associated with several layers of contractors and designers. Not only is it much faster but is less expensive. Combine that simple fact with the expertise of a company that specializes in generator installations and significant time and expense can be saved by the owner. Eau Gallie Electric will be able to visit your nursing home quickly and have your project mapped out efficiently. Before you know it, your nursing home or assisted living facility will be compliant with the law, and your residents will be safe no matter what mother nature sweeps our way next hurricane season.

For a free site assessment and generator quotation for your nursing home or assisted living facility, please contact Eau Gallie Electric today.  

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