In May 2019, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency executed a contract with Powered for Patients to lead a multi-phase emergency power resilience initiative focused on critical healthcare facilities that will span a four-year period.
The comprehensive Los Angeles County project encompasses an emergency power resilience assessment, development of new protocols to better safeguard emergency power and expedite prioritized power restoration, creation of a training component and ultimately development and coordination of exercises to test existing and new protocols.
The initial phase of work, completed in September 2020, involved the evaluation of existing protocols used by government officials, utilities and healthcare facility leaders when addressing threats to emergency power at critical healthcare facilities during power outages.
As part of its phase one work, Powered for Patients worked with Los Angeles County officials to inventory all generators and fuel owned or contracted by local, county and state agencies that can be deployed to assist an impacted healthcare facility during power outages. This review also assessed opportunities to align deployment protocols across government agencies to expedite generator and generator fuel deployment from local, county, state and federal caches.
Phase one also involved a review of current practices by hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in maintaining and testing emergency power systems along with an assessment of these facilities’ response protocols when emergency power is threatened. Phase one work included a review of emergency power system size in Los Angeles County hospitals and a determination of the age of generators in single-generator, acute care hospitals. This work revealed a number of seriously outdated generators in these facilities, including:
- One hospital with a generator over 60 years old
- Three hospitals with generators between 50 and 59 years
- Three hospitals with generators between 40 and 49 years old
- Two hospitals with generators between 30 and 39 years old
- Three hospitals with generators twenty years old or newer
These seriously outdated generators underscore the importance of the early These seriously outdated generators underscore the importance of the early warning emergency power threat protocols recommended as part of Phase one work. These protocols call on hospitals and sub-acute skilled nursing facilities to notify designated government and utility points of contact at the first sign of a serious threat to emergency power during a power outage.
This early warning threat notification protocol and other recommendations to better safeguard emergency power and expedite prioritized power restoration are detailed in the Phase I Report. These recommendations are being implemented during Phase two of the initiative, which began in September 2020. Among the recommendations being implemented is deployment of the Power P.I.O.N.E.E.R.® Tool to all single generator hospitals in Los Angeles County that participate in the HHS Hospital Preparedness Program.
P.I.O.N.E.E.R., which stands for Power Information Needed to Expedite Emergency Response, provides real time, automated alerts when emergency power is threatened during power outages, enabling accelerated government and utility response to support a stricken facility.
Phase three will involve the creation of a Los Angeles county-Playbook on safeguarding emergency power and expediting prioritized power restoration for critical healthcare facilities. This playbook will reflect new protocols arising from Phase one work and will detail the responsibilities of key stakeholders before, during and after disasters in safeguarding emergency power and expediting prioritized power restoration.
The initiative’s final phases will involve the development of training resources and the creation and implementation of exercises to test protocols developed during earlier phases.