Hospital gets new generator after '09 ice storm damage

PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - Hospital officials placed the order for a new 850 kilovolt-amp generator, which will provide enough power to keep the 35 thousand square-foot hospital operating during natural disasters. 

The Piggott Community Hospital will be fully functional--on or off the grid--starting no later than April of 2013.

Executive Director James Magee says the new generator will prevent power surges and damage to expensive medical equipment, among other things.

"Not only will it power the entire hospital, but it's going to have enough capacity that if we should ever add on, that we could add on a considerable amount of extra space beyond what we already have."

The need for a new generator became apparent after the incidents that unfolded during the 2009 ice storm.

Their 35 year-old backup generator failed just a couple days after the ice storm hit.

The hospital had no electricity for 8 days, forcing them to evacuate patients and close medical doors.

"I did see one of our doctors sewing up a patient with just one light bulb, was all the light they had from a small gas generator."

Those problems are long-gone, because Magee says he is making sure the outages of January 2009 will not happen again.

"It's a seamless transfer of power. If we have a forecast, possible bad weather, we can go ahead and turn that generator on."

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