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February 16, 2009 - 4:48pm

UMMC explains cause of power outage, plans to prevent future issues

posted by Philip Anselmo in power outage, UMMC.

Apologies. This statement on the details of the power outage at United Memorial Medical Center Friday went overlooked by me. I had sent a request early in the afternoon that day asking to be updated on the status of the outage. Last I had heard at that point, all of the surgeries for the day had been cancelled and incoming patients were being sent elsewhere. That was around noon.

This mail was sent around 6 o'clock Friday evening:

Early this morning, United Memorial was made aware of potentially dangerous power issues at the North Street Campus. A transfer switch which allows approximately 75% of the Hospital’s electrical needs to move to generator power, failed.

While the Hospital was operational and functioning “on the grid” using regular electrical service, the lack of a redundancy system required the cancellation of all surgeries and placed the Emergency Department on diversion. All incoming ambulances were diverted to Millard Fillmore Suburban and other area hospitals.

In order to diagnose and correct the power issue, United Memorial went “off the grid” and was without power for approximately 16 minutes beginning at 12:20 pm today. This allowed crews to convert to a temporary manual switching system. In preparation for this event, United Memorial worked with the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management, City of Batavia Fire and Police, and the Department of Health to insure patient safety. Mobile generators and temporary lighting were brought in for critical electrical power needs and an internal labor pool was established to address issues due to the lack of elevator and computer services. Quality Management discharged patients that were expected to go home today prior to the power interruption and patient meals were delivered before elevator services were disconnected. A notice was also sent to all members of the Medical Staff alerting them to the situation.

This afternoon, electrical crews worked to move two operating rooms off of the manual switching system over to an automatic transfer switch. In an unexpected power failure due to circumstances such as weather or an accident, this conversion will allow generator power to become effective in a matter of seconds; with a manual transfer to generator power, 3-5 minutes are necessary. This conversion was completed by 5:15 pm today and the Hospital ended the diversion of ambulances. United Memorial is now operating at its regular capacity.

A permanent replacement of the faulty transfer switch should occur in the next 2-3 weeks when the customized part becomes available. There were no negative impacts to patient care during this incident and the Hospital would like to express their gratitude to the staff of United Memorial, the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management, City of Batavia Fire and Police Departments, our patients and visitors who worked cooperatively with patience and understanding while we attended to a potential life safety issue.

Gabor Deutsch
Gabor Deutsch's picture
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Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
Joined: May 24 2008 - 4:16pm
I hope they can afford that bill. Thanks for the follow up. I read the article in Saturdays paper. Its important that Batavia's only hospital is taken care of and modernised. I just hope that the ambulance situation gets solved because I dont want to walk to the hospital if I am dying !

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