You’ve seen it a dozen times in action films: There’s some kind of massive blackout across a city. We cut to the inside of a hospital. “Don’t worry,” a heroic doctor or nurse says. “We can run on emergency power for a while.”
It sounds reasonable, and it lets us know that the characters are relatively safe… but what does it mean, exactly?
In most cases, the characters are referring to a backup generator that can supply power for a few hours. A generator is only part of the equation, though.
To truly protect vulnerable patients during an outage, a medical facility needs not just a generator, but a UPS system. Keep reading to learn more about UPS systems and why they are vital to medical facilities.
What Is a UPS System?
Let’s start with the obvious question: what does ‘UPS’ stand for when discussing UPS systems? A UPS is an uninterruptible power supply (also called an uninterruptible power source).
An uninterruptible power supply is an energy source that is not interrupted by a power outage. If there’s a blackout, devices plugged into a UPS system will not be affected. They’ll keep running like normal.
There are many different kinds of UPS, and they can be used in a variety of fields: industrial, medical, and military applications all exist. You can even get a smaller UPS system for your home.
How Does It Work?
A UPS system runs on batteries. When things are normal, a UPS system doesn’t do anything noticeable; it simply maintains the charge of its batteries. For more information about UPS batteries, go here.
When there’s a power outage, the UPS system leaps into action, using its batteries to instantly provide emergency power to the devices plugged into it.
That’s what sets a UPS system apart from a generator, which will usually take several minutes to kick on.
Normally, the UPS works by converting AC power to DC to charge batteries, then from DC to AC when the energy leaves the batteries.
In the case of battery failure, a static bypass switch will cut the batteries out of the equation entirely. This provides a safety net if a battery malfunctions.
Why Does a Medical Facility Need One?
Power failure can be catastrophic in a hospital. Power surges can damage important medical equipment. Valuable patient data can be lost if computers and other devices are out of commission from a blackout.
Even if the hospital has an emergency generator, that will take a few minutes to restore power. In the meantime, patients are at serious risk.
This is especially true in critical units, where patients may be on life support. If a life support system is offline for even a minute or two, it could be the end for the patient who needed it.
A UPS system protects vulnerable patients when they need it most, and is a crucial part of any medical facility’s emergency systems.
Keeping Patients Safe
A UPS system has a myriad of benefits, such as protecting electrical devices from power surges and maintaining important data. Its most important function is protecting patients whose lives depend on a medical device.
UPS systems are one of many fascinating technological innovations being used every day. For information on more mechanical marvels, check out our tech blog!