Why Don't They?


One of the many tragic things to happen in New Orleans was that all of the hospitals lost power. Here in Houston during Tropical Storm Allison something similar happened. There were alot (though, thank God, by no means all of them) of hospitals that completely lost power due to flooding - though (thank God) by no means all of them.
Why not put the emergency generators in hospitals above the flood line? And why not have a breaker in to cut power to areas below the flood line? This way, even when the building floods, emergency power can stay on - and in a hospital this means that life-support, dialysis machines, and defibrillators will still work.
I've seen projects where chillers, boilers, and cooling towers were installed on a mezzanine 40' above street level. But the emergency generator and fuel tanks are below the flood line! WHY?
A related idea. Old fashioned cisterns on hospital roofs - during normal use they help the water pressure. During loss of power they provide a limited supply of potable water.
The idea in both cases is to keep the life-saving devices running and potable water available long enough for the building to be evacuated - not indefinitely.
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Adam Weiss wrote:

Could it have something to do with fuel vapors being heavier than air?
I don't know, I'm asking.
Notan
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Don wrote:

OK, one more try... Could it have anything to do with fuel supply requirements, as found in Section VIII(c) of:
www.fdhc.state.fl.us/MCHQ/Plans/ pdfs/physical_plant_improvements.pdf,
If not, then how about educating those of us who *do* prefer to know it?
Notan
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It is surprising how stupid some civil engineers can be. A few years ago I was Architect for a generator house for a flood control area in a neighborhood South of Boston. Generator was to power below grade pumps when area flooded during storms. Generator to run on natural gas (no need of fuel supply). Engineers put the generator on grade. All houses in area were open at grade. I suggested that we raise the generator building 6 feet above grade. The engineers actually asked why. After explaining about tides and water, they suggested a wall around the generator house. It was much cheaper to raise the building on concrete legs. System has worked fine. Oil tanks do need a vent but it can be brought up to above the roof level. They do have to be tied down to a substantial slab to prevent lifting during high water. EDS

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