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Powering Down: An orderly process for switching off hospital electrical equipment


An electrical shutdown is a carefully managed process whereby electrical equipment is switched off for various reasons, including crucial maintenance, training, expansion and repair; and then turned back on again with minimal impact to patients.

Electrical shutdowns can be performed safely and hospitals can gain added benefits from their electrical shutdowns if they also use them to train clinical and support staff in how to deal with power outages. Hospitals taking this approach are continuously improving their environment of care.

The right time?

Hospitals need to plan electrical shutdowns whenever modifications must be made to the equipment. Industry experts will tell you that working “hot” is never a good idea if there is any other way. A well-planned shutdown is that other way, and it is required in many instances. For example, it should be planned shortly after completion of construction/renovation (C/R) activity in the vicinity of the electrical equipment, even if the electrical system itself is new.

Concrete dust will often get inside the electrical equipment after it is energized for startup and testing of other systems, and this can cause the electrical equipment to fail unexpectedly. If construction dust has to be cleaned off the floor and the window sills, it will likely have to be cleaned off electrical components as well, and knowledgeable owners require a planned shutdown to clean the new electrical equipment thoroughly right before the building’s completion.