It seems rather remote when one recalls the blackout which occurred in August of 2003, when millionsof people suddenly were faced with no electricity. For most, having no electricity turned their world into total upheaval as they began their longhot wait till the power was restored. Some who lived and worked in building high-risessuddenly found themselves stuck in elevators, while other maneuvered their way around the darkened hallways and stairwells as a result of the building backup power system failing. Occupants ofsenior residences and care facilitieswith debilitating illnesses were confronted with possible life-threatening conditions. After this major power outage, much attention was devoted to building backup power systems and their associated maintenance and inspection requirements.
Without question, electric power is a critical part of society and business alike. Reliable back-up power systems such generatorsare an integral part of support for eachbuilding’s fire and life safety systems, and must be capable of operating under supervisory powerto ensure all occupantsare able to evacuate safely during an emergency. The types of generators in each building may vary but,for the most part, in the event of the power is interrupted,supply electricity to emergency lightingand exit fixtures, sprinkler fire pumps, elevators and fire alarm control panels.This independent source of backup power normally switches automatically to take over should the building be cut off from the main power supply grid.Power generatorshave become an essential piece of equipment for businesses, and continue to be installed within corporate office facilities,manufacturing plants and communication centres toensure occupant safety. Business operators have come to understand how generators assist in minimizing lost revenues and help reduce the lossof productivity during a power outage. High-rise apartment and condominium operators continue to evaluate their present backup power systems and advancements in the support available for building heating units when extended power outages occur.
Power interruptions to buildings aredifficult to predict, and much reliance is placed the local infrastructure and the electricity suppliers to continually support the building’s needs.The weatherhas a huge influence on the supply of power. Main gridsare subjected to increased demand to keep us comfortable indoors during hot temperature spells outdoors. Winter and its storms impact the supply of electricity, aspower lines snap due tothe sheer weight of ice crystals collecting on overhead cables.It is therefore critical to perform inspection and maintenance procedures forthe backup power systems and the equipment which they must support during an electricity outage. Each approved fire safety plan outlines the requirements for maintaining the functionality and operability not only of the building generator, but alsothe portable emergency lighting units, exit fixtures, and fire and life safety systems in the building.
This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.