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This is an excerpt from a member-only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login, subscribe, or try out HSC for 30 days.

Know your hospital's electrical backup plan

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April 1, 2019

Recent 911 outages, transformer explosion highlight need for a Plan B

A series of recent electrical grid failures, including a massive transformer station explosion in New York City and nationwide 911 outages, showed what can happen when the grid goes haywire—and demonstrated the need for solid backup plans.

The first incident occurred on December 27, 2018, when a huge explosion at a Con Edison substation in Queens temporarily lit up New York’s night skyline in a brilliant blue.

The light came as part of an electrical fault that caused an “arc flash,” like lightning, according to published reports. According to officials, a brief electrical fire occurred after a “couple of transformers tripped offline.” The issue caused a transmission dip in the area. The equipment, located about 20 feet above the ground, contained cables that transmit 138,000 volts of electricity—a staggering amount compared with the 120 volts supplied to American households.



This is an excerpt from a member-only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login, subscribe, or try out HSC for 30 days.

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