The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a $312,500 grant to buy a 1,500 kilowatt emergency generator for the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, a Monday announcement from FEMA and VITEMA indicates.
“Identifying appropriate emergency resources and having them available is an essential task for a rapid response and recovery process after an emergency," FEMA Caribbean Area Division Director Alejandro De La Campa said in a statement from FEMA explaining the decision.
“Mitigating the possibility of losing power at such a critical facility during an emergency will strengthen the territorial capabilities to manage medical emergencies and operations,” De La Campa said.
In the same statement, VITEMA Director Mona Barnes said that shortly after she came on board as director, there was an incident where JFL lost backup power generation during an islandwide outage.
"Addressing this shortfall quickly became a priority for VITEMA,” Barnes said, “so that it never happens again. Our hospitals must be operational especially during a major incident.”
“Through FEMA we were able to identify and secure funding to purchase a new generator that will mitigate power loss,” she said. “The installation of a new generator at JFLH ensures that our territory is truly prepared if there is a major incident.”
Barnes said the collaborative effort between the VITEMA and FEMA Caribbean Area Division “speaks volumes about our continuing partnership and we are grateful for their support."
According to the statement, the money would buy and install a new 1,500kw, 4,160 volts, diesel generator set to replace the existing 1,100 kilowatt generators, which VITEMA says are undersized, unreliable and have exceeded their useful life.
The hospital submitted a project proposal to FEMA to buy and install the emergency backup generator to ensure continuity of hospital operations when the power goes out, especially during hurricanes that periodically impact the territory, causing prolonged outages.
The first step in this project will be to analyze the load demand to the generator to ensure it will adequately respond during a power outage, VITEMA said. The next step will be overhauling the existing generators to ensure the wiring and connections are suitably sized and meet building, electrical and environmental codes.
The final step will be the request for competitive bids for the purchase and installation of the new generator.