The importance of backup generators for hospitals and healthcare

Mar 20,2024

As in many natural disasters, some event that affects power can also result in an increased need for medical care for nearby injured people. Therefore, hospitals and healthcare facilities cannot rely solely on the main grid to provide power.

To meet the needs of current and future patients, healthcare facilities need reliable backup power. Essentially, every second of a power outage can be costly for patients—when the power is out, doctors, nurses, and other staff lose access to the equipment used to treat patients.

As a result, hospitals often require backup generators that can respond quickly to power outages to minimize outage duration.

PowerLink EB Series B1250E3C Diesel Genset (6)

What happens when a hospital loses power?

In the event of a power outage within a hospital setting, there may be critical implications for patients’ health and welfare. This is particularly true for those located in crucial units such as operating theatres, Intensive Care Units (ICUs), and postoperative recovery areas, where electrically powered medical equipment plays an integral role in patient stability.

Without access to electricity, we must recognize that our patients face potential risk factors; this includes those reliant on life-sustaining apparatuses whose lives could be considerably endangered.

Power interruptions can potentially disrupt critical functions such as heating and cooling systems, security protocols, lighting facilities, emergency signage, and communication channels – all of which necessitate a consistent power supply.

Furthermore, laboratory elements like blood, plasma, and tissue samples demand meticulously regulated storage conditions to maintain their integrity. Consequently, in the event of a power outage in a hospital setting; it immediately jeopardizes the preservation of these vital resources.

Moreover, there is an array of medications that mandate specified temperature ranges for optimal storage. A breach in this stipulated range due to unforeseen power failures might compromise the efficacy of these drugs rendering them unusable — underlining the urgency and importance of uninterrupted electricity provisions.

Given the profound risk, it is essential for healthcare facilities to have reliable hospital backup power systems such as generators in place.

These systems, inclusive of backup generators and automatic transfer switches, are designed to activate within seconds following a primary power outage, ensuring sustained electricity supply until regular power services resume.

The stringent regulation of hospital backup power systems guarantees comprehensive preparedness in facilities confronting potential emergencies.

Powerlink EC 1250KVA WCS1250S Diesel Generator (11)

What are the requirements for a hospital backup generator?

Buying a generator isn’t as simple as picking one and plugging it in. In addition to making sure your facility is installed correctly, you also need to assess your electrical needs.

For medical facilities, this can be difficult because not only do you need to calculate the power requirements for day-to-day operations, but you also need to account for any additional power needs that may need to be met during an emergency.

Critical equipment within a hospital environment, such as life support machinery, intravenous distribution systems, and refrigerators storing vital medications require an unfaltering power supply, especially during emergencies.

It’s imperative that generators employed within the healthcare industry exhibit remarkable reliability and consistency. At Powerlinkworld, we are committed to providing an extensive range of robust generators explicitly designed to cater for these substantial demands effectively.

How does a hospital generator work?

A hospital generator, also known as a backup generator or emergency generator, is a device that provides power to a hospital during a power outage or main power failure. It ensures that critical medical equipment and systems continue to operate and patient care is not disrupted.

Here is a general overview of how hospital generators work:

1. Power source: Generators typically run on diesel, natural gas, or propane as fuel. Diesel generators are the most common choice due to their durability and ability to handle high-power loads.

2. Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS): The ATS is the link between the main power supply and the generator. It continuously monitors the main power supply for any interruptions or fluctuations. If it detects a power outage or abnormal situation, it starts the generator within seconds to restore power.

3. Engine: A generator has an internal combustion engine and is responsible for converting fuel into mechanical energy. The engine drives an alternator, which generates electricity.

4. Fuel supply: The generator is connected to a fuel source, usually a large fuel tank. For diesel generators, fuel flows into the engine through a fuel pump, while natural gas or propane generators rely on a gas line connection.

5. Voltage regulation: The generator ensures stable power output by monitoring voltage levels. The voltage regulator adjusts the generator’s output to match the required voltage, which in hospitals is usually 208V or 480V.

6. Power Distribution System: Once the generator is running and providing power, it is connected to the hospital’s power distribution system. The electricity generated is distributed through the hospital’s circuit breaker panels to critical areas such as operating rooms, emergency rooms, intensive care units and life-sustaining equipment.

7. Monitoring and Maintenance: Hospital generators are equipped with monitoring systems that track various parameters such as fuel level, engine temperature, oil pressure, and power output. Regular maintenance is essential to keep your generator in top condition and ensure it is ready for emergencies.

Hospital generators are critical equipment that allows healthcare facilities to maintain essential services and provide uninterrupted patient care during power outages or emergencies.

Powerlink EC 1250KVA WCS1250S Diesel Generator (12)

Generators commonly used in healthcare

Natural Gas: The generator operates on a complex underground pipeline system that efficiently delivers natural gas. This setup effectively mitigates potential risks associated with weather conditions and natural disasters.

Additionally, utilizing natural gas as a fuel source can significantly enhance environmental safety by significantly reducing air pollution, a problem primarily associated with other types of fuel.

Diesel: Diesel generators provide suitable solutions for various industries that require efficient backup power systems, ensuring excellent on-site reliability. These devices are capable of producing large amounts of power to suit a variety of devices.

They are engineered as per global standards to deliver superior efficiency and minimize fuel consumption. In addition, these generators offer significant cost efficiencies, including low capital investment per kilowatt, as well as long run times and economical maintenance.

Dual Fuel: The industrial generators in question are designed to run on both diesel and natural gas, making dual-fuel generators the best choice due to their robust reliability and unparalleled efficiency.

Utilization of multiple fuel sources eliminates the complexities associated with on-site and utility fuels. Large-scale diesel storage is not required because if diesel supplies are depleted, power generation will transition seamlessly to reliance on natural gas.

Mobile Generator Sets: With mobile generators, you have the flexibility to relocate your power system as needed, whether that requires transportation across different city locations or even within a vast facility such as a hospital campus.

This portable device is also particularly beneficial for off-site operations, such as facilitating events at external venues.

Powerlink EP Diesel generator sets Perkins engine (10)

The application of generators in hospital

Daily operation

Medical institutions, such as hospitals and care facilities, are dedicated to administering daily patient care. This encompasses various procedures like electively scheduled surgeries, laboratory diagnostics, radiology services involving scans and X-rays, regular health assessments and inpatient treatments to assist patients on their recovery journey.

Each of these crucial services necessitates the utilization of specialized medical equipment that is reliant on electricity for its operation.

Apart from regular diagnostics and routine medical services, certain patients necessitate the use of vital life-support systems such as dialysis machines or ventilators during their treatment period.

Any disruption in power supply might cause these critical devices to cease functioning, thereby posing a serious risk to patient health and wellbeing.

Furthermore, hospitals are equipped with refrigeration technology for the storage of intravenous (IV) apparatus, essential medications, vaccines and blood reserves. These indispensable items require strictly regulated temperature conditions to maintain their efficacy.

Disaster recovery

Hospitals are heavily dependent on a diverse array of tools for regular patient treatment. However, during unprecedented events like natural disasters, there is a surge in the number of patients requiring emergency medical attention due to injuries and accidents.

In these vital scenarios, it’s imperative for medical professionals such as doctors and surgeons to maintain an uninterrupted power supply for crucial life-saving medical apparatuses, instrumental in managing emergency surgeries effectively.

This extends to post-surgical care too; constant monitoring of the patient’s vital signs and overall recovery status is critical – this involves life support equipment if warranted.

Field hospital

In the occurrence of widespread cataclysms or phenomena such as the 2019 pandemic, it is common practice to establish field hospitals within affected zones. Renowned for their expansive capacity, these facilities facilitate a greater number of crucial emergency procedures.

Moreover, they also allow for increased deployment of qualified medical professionals effectively dispatched to assist patients requiring urgent care.

Field hospitals, despite being equipped with similar medical devices and apparatus as customary hospital facilities, face the primary issue of powering this equipment.

Essentially, a field hospital operates much like an impromptu campsite without connectivity to the central power grid. In such circumstances, portable backup generators serve as an invaluable solution.

These compact units can be swiftly transported specifically to the intended location in a prompt timescale and conveniently removed upon project completion.


Backup generators play a vital role in ensuring uninterrupted operations in hospitals and healthcare facilities. They are critical to maintaining critical functions during power outages and emergencies, allowing patient care to continue without interruption.

By investing in reliable backup power systems, hospitals can prioritize patient safety and maintain the highest level of care.

--- END ---

Open chat
Can we help you?