Down the Drain: A Surgical Facility’s Downtime Disaster During a Power Failure
How Scheduling Maintenance Checks Can Prevent UPS Downtime and Avoid Catastrophic Power Failures for Medical Centers & Hospitals
The facility manager at a surgery center thought he had covered all his bases during recent renovation. But when the power suddenly went out, the surgical team was – of all things – unable to wash their hands. Yes, downtime can affect your facility in unexpected ways.
The problem? When it came to ensuring the backup power supply, the facility manager had only focused on backing up the big equipment, vital to the center’s day-to-day functions. However, the surgery center had recently installed automatic hand washers, which went overlooked.
When the power went down, the surgeons couldn’t wash up. Big problem.
Instances like this one show the importance of assessing how downtime can affect each part of your facility, and understanding it’s not always about the large equipment. When determining which equipment to connect to a backup power system, it can be easy to overlook small necessities which can have a big impact when the power goes down. In most cases, a simple facilities survey can help avoid significant downtime and disruption in the event of a power anomaly.
What Power Failure Can Cost Your Surgical Facility
If your facility’s mission-critical equipment depends on having a steady, uninterrupted power source, any amount of downtime is catastrophic. Here’s what’s at stake, should you experience downtime:
Impact on revenue
If your business is expected to be highly responsive, as with delivery and customer services, you stand to lose a lot from downtime. Small enterprises lose more than $55,000 in revenue each year due to IT failures, according to a survey of IT outages . That totals more than $26.5 billion dollars lost every year from small businesses.
To learn your own business’s prospective revenue loss, or cost of downtime, download our free downtime cost calculator Excel template.
Impact on productivity
Downtime hurts employee productivity, which can be measured by the amount of wasted wages, salaries and benefits paid to workers while they are unable to perform during downtime.
Furthermore, businesses may have to pay additional money to workers for overtime to help recover lost data or complete additional work due to downtime. Plus, if customer satisfaction was hurt, a business might pay extra money to assemble a marketing campaign to win back their customers.
Impact on reputation
Reliability is a difficult metric to quantify, but you can be sure that downtime will hurt your business’s reputation with customers. It only takes one instance for customers to question your dependability. That could add up to a lifetime of lost sales from turned-off customers.
Naturally, the first step towards preventing downtime is installing an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system for your critical equipment. But as you’ll see, additional upkeep is vital to maintaining your UPS’s health and preventing downtime.
How Facility Managers Can Prevent UPS Downtime due to Power Failures
Downtime can stem from a variety of causes, some of which cannot be prevented. Take a look at this blackout map and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
Still, there are some strategies you can take to prevent downtime and avoid experiencing a catastrophe like the aforementioned facility manager.
Schedule regular UPS maintenance checks
The best uninterruptible power supply system is a regularly maintained one. In a 2013 study on data outages by the Ponemon Institute, 55 percent of respondents indicated the top cause of unplanned power outages was from UPS failure. That means one of the best ways to prevent downtime is to ensure your uninterruptible power supply system is healthy with maintenance checks.
Regular maintenance and system inspections greatly reduce the risk of downtime by analyzing your UPS and facility with an experienced eye to pinpoint problems that could lead to a failure in power backup, leading to downtime. As one of the leading regional uninterruptible power supply maintenance companies, QPS has the expertise to ensure that all your mission critical power systems are regularly and thoroughly inspected, identifying any potential weak spots before they can become problems.
Show your boss that you need maintenance
You might realize the importance of UPS and generator maintenance, but ultimately you need to prove to the higher-ups that mission critical power solutions are worth the money.
Break out that cost of downtime worksheet we mentioned earlier. Calculate your estimated cost of downtime and present it to your superiors. Once they see the projected damage downtime could do to their business, they’ll be more open to investing in preventative maintenance checks.
Review your critical loads annually
Most facilities are constantly evolving, and experience has shown that UPS systems and generators don’t always keep up. Have you added new equipment? Have you increased efficiency and lowered your critical power loads? Setting up a scheduled time to review these items can help your facilities avoid unnecessary costs and could help prevent a disaster.
Downtime doesn’t strike at your convenience. Forgetting to back anything up—be it your automatic faucets or other equally crucial pieces of equipment—can have huge consequences.