The Importance of Generators in Senior Living Communities
When looking for a senior living community, there are many different factors that families need to consider. Among these include the cost of the community, the location and the amenities that are provided. One of the aspects that is most frequently overlooked is the importance of a generator in a senior living community. Generators are an extremely important part of living in a safe community for seniors. These backup generators provide an important source of power should something happen to the traditional electrical circuit. How do these backup generators work and just why are they so important for keeping senior living communities safe?
How do Backup Generators Function in a Senior Living Community?
A backup generator, also called a standby generator, serves as a second-line electrical system. If something happens to the electrical grid in a senior living community, the backup generator steps in to supply power. There are many reasons why a traditional electrical system might go off-line. Some examples include:
- Severe thunderstorms
- A failure at the central electrical grid
- Rolling blackouts
- A short circuit or an electrical overload
Any of these reasons could lead to a utility outage. Most modern backup generators have been designed to start working automatically. Within seconds of a typical utility outage, an automatic transfer switch can sense the loss of power. When this occurs, a command signal is sent to the generator. Then, the generator picks up the electrical load and begins to supply power to the electrical circuits. This will keep power going to the community while crews work to restore traditional utility power.
Once the traditional power is restored by the utility services, the transfer switch will activate once again. The electrical load will be sent back to the traditional utility grid and the standby generator will turn off. Like all power systems, generators need to have some sort of fuel to function. Some of the most common fuel sources include:
- Diesel fuel
- Natural gas
- Liquid propane gas
Most modern generators are designed to run a weekly test to ensure that they are functioning properly. In addition, some building codes might require a backup generator in order to keep people safe. This could be true of certain senior living communities. These laws have been put in place because of the importance of backup generators. What are some of the crucial functions that these generators might serve?
Keeping the Temperature Control Systems in a Safe Range During a Power Outage
One of the most important functions of backup generators comes in the form of climate control. As people age, they might not be able to adjust to extreme temperatures as easily as they did previously. If the utility power goes out, this means that there isn’t any power serving the HVAC units and heating and cooling systems will cease to function. During the winter months, the building temperature could drop to dangerously low temperatures within a few hours. During the summer months, temperatures inside the buildings could rise quickly. This could place people in life-threatening situations without notice.
Backup generators can prevent this from happening. If the power goes out, the backup generator turns on, powering these climate control systems to keep the building within a safe temperature range until the power is restored. All senior living communities should have a backup generator that can keep these systems functioning in the event of a utility power outage, preventing residents from either freezing or overheating.
Powering Medical Equipment During a Power Outage
Perhaps the most important role of a backup generator is its importance for those who require continuous power for their medical equipment. Like other computers and advanced devices, medical equipment requires a source of power. If the power goes out, these medical devices cease to function. This could place individuals in a life-threatening situation in a matter of minutes and is the reason why hospitals have backup generators. Senior living communities are in the same situation. There are many individuals living in these communities who depend on medical life-support systems throughout the day. Some of the systems include:
Home Ventilators: Some seniors live with a home ventilator system. This encompasses medical equipment that is used to help individuals breathe. For some people, they might have a tracheostomy that is attached to a ventilator. For other people, they might have a CPAP or a BiPAP mask at home that they wear. Some people wear these masks full-time while other people wear them at night only. Regardless, all of these devices require a power source. If the power goes out, these devices need to remain functional.
IV Pumps: Many seniors receive IV medications or fluids on a daily basis. These pumps are used to deliver medication that is vital to their health. These IV pumps, like other medical equipment, require a power source. Without them, people might go without necessary medications, placing them in harm’s way.
Continuous Cardiac Monitoring: Many individuals live with some form of heart disease. Some of them might require continuous cardiac monitoring in the form of an EKG. For those who require cardiac monitoring on a daily basis, these devices require power. This is where the backup generators serve a crucial purpose.
These are only a few of the many examples of medical equipment that require a continuous power source to function. It is vital for all senior living communities to have backup generators. Many of their residents could require a continuous power source to keep their medical equipment functioning. In the event of a power loss, a backup system is crucial while the utility power is restored. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why backup generators are important.
Keeping Food from Spoiling
Like other devices in the home, the refrigerator also requires a continuous source of power. If the power goes out, people need to remember to keep their refrigerator closed. This will trap the cool air inside, allowing the refrigerator to stay cool for a longer period of time. Of course, eventually, the food will spoil. Backup generators will keep their food from spoiling, preventing many seniors from going hungry or getting sick as a result of a utility power outage.
Preventing the Pipes from Bursting During a Power Outage
During the winter months, power outages could even translate into ruptured pipes. Some people might have heard that they should drip their faucets during the winter. This keeps water flowing within the pipes, preventing it from freezing. Other people might have heard that they need to keep their thermostat elevated to a certain temperature, even when not at home, to prevent the pipes from freezing. When water freezes, it expands. If water freezes within the pipes, the pipes could burst.
Of course, to keep the home warm enough to prevent the water from freezing, the HVAC units need power. If the power goes out in a senior living community during the winter over a prolonged period of time, pipes can burst and put the entire senior living community at risk. By having a backup generator in place, senior living communities can prevent disaster from striking.
Do Not Overlook the Importance of Generators in Senior Living Communities
These are only a few of the many reasons why generators are of utmost importance in assisted living and memory care communities. The presence (or absence) of a generator should be considered every time individuals or their families are looking for a senior living community. The presence of a generator could be lifesaving and might prevent disaster from striking during the next power outage. Do not overlook the importance of a generator in a senior living community. Its functions are invaluable.
If you’re looking for a senior living community in Florida, consider Avalina Senior Living. We ensure residents can live with peace of mind and live their best life knowing they are covered in case of an unfortunate power outage. Avalina is the area’s only senior living community with a 100% back-up generator, meaning you can enjoy all of the comforts of home in your apartment and throughout the community with no interruptions, even if the power is out in the area. Learn more about our assisted living and memory care community located in Sunrise, Florida, then contact our friendly team for more information today.