The American Red Cross will be able to continue emergency relief efforts thanks to the installation of a standby power system from Generac Industrial Power. Needing to ensure disaster relief efforts will continue to operate smoothly when power outages occur, the Red Cross acquired the dependable and fuel efficient solution to protect its donation and distribution center in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
As an organization that serves communities across the nation during emergency scenarios, the Red Cross cannot afford to go without power for extended periods of time. In addition to executing transportation and disaster relief efforts in northeastern Wisconsin, the Red Cross houses Nurse Assistant Training and blood servicing programs at their Green Bay location as well.
Last year alone, Green Bay was part of a regional chapter that received over 200,000 red blood cell and blood platelet donations from over 85,000 donors. These donations are used to help treat a variety of patients including trauma victims, premature babies and transplant recipients. While blood donations can last for well over a month when properly treated, blood platelet donations can coagulate in as few as five days.
As a storage location for blood products with a limited shelf life, the FDA mandates heating and cooling regulations for the Red Cross’ storage and transportation of these products. Some of these life critical assets can be ruined when untreated for periods as short as 20 or 30 minutes. Power is not only required to conduct blood drives but to operate blood treatment equipment that keeps red blood cell donations at proper temperatures and prevents platelet donations from coagulating. To ensure the safekeeping of these products, electrical duality for the Red Cross is of the utmost importance, especially after local or remote disasters strike.
“Someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion every two seconds,” said Steve Hansen, Red Cross’ Chapter Executive for Northeast Wisconsin. “We must properly maintain our blood products to adequately serve those in need. A prolonged outage would not only ruin our inventory and keep us from acquiring additional donations; it could end up costing lives.”
In addition to the building’s refrigeration, hemodialysis and blood analysis machines, standby power was also needed for the building’s lighting, fire alarms and life safety equipment. Industrial Power Distributor, Wolter Power Systems, specified a 50kW standby power system to cover the full extent of the Red Cross’ backup power needs. Consisting of a single diesel-powered generator encased in a sound attenuated enclosure to meet sound emission requirements and avoid disturbing the Red Cross’ neighbors, the solution was designed and manufactured to meet the building’s 120/208v 3-phase application requirements. To support the building’s electrical infrastructure and meet local code requirements, a single 225-amp automatic transfer switch and an additional 110-amp switch were also specified for installation.
Thereafter, Generac and Wolter Power Systems worked with Electrical Contractor, The Stiegler Company, to have the transfer switches installed adjacent to electrical panels in the building’s basement. Also, as the building’s old generator was originally installed in the basement, the outdoor installation site of the new generator features a footprint smaller than a parked car and eliminates indoor fuel storage risks while making maintenance tasks easier to perform.
Knowing how important it is to provide immediate servicing when the generator needs it most, Wolter Power Systems’ Master Technician, Ryan Dutkiewicz also took Red Cross’ Supervisor of Northwest Facilities, Stephen Golias, through a tutorial of the generator and its general functions once installation, product commissioning and initial testing procedures were complete.
“We covered everything from knowing what to do when alarm codes appear on the generator’s control panel to appropriately setting the system’s weekly exercise time,” said Dutkiewicz. “Going through this process with generator owners helps them gain an understanding of what to do to ensure the generator’s long-term performance.”
As is the case with any standby power system, keeping the Red Cross prepared to respond in the event of emergencies is of the utmost importance. Along with committed volunteers and an undying willingness to serve those in need, this powerful solution further cements the Red Cross’ position as the leader in disaster relief.
“It’s really exciting to work with an organization as passionate as Generac,” said Golias. “We take pride in preparing for the worst, and Generac is no different. Our unique infrastructure requires dependability and affordability. This package provides us with a cost efficient solution that will keep us operating smoothly at all times. The entire process was painless, and knowing we’ll never be without power again gives us great peace of mind.”