Backup Power Solutions
A critical step when determining the appropriate backup power solutions for life support devices used in homes is understanding what backup power resources are incorporated into specific medical devices.
Some devices, such as ventilators, portable oxygen concentrators, and heart pumps, are made with internal batteries that automatically keep the device running during a power outage. The run time of these internal batteries can vary dramatically based on the model of the device. The battery run time of these devices can be extended through the use of external batteries, including those made by the medical device manufacturer and others made by battery manufacturers. A number of these devices can also be operated when plugged into the 12-volt accessory outlet present in most vehicles.
Most batteries for life support devices have indicators of remaining run time that are often reflected through audible or visual alarms. It is imperative that a life support user, and/or their caregiver, have a system in place to keep close track of remaining battery run time for both internal and external batteries. Doing so will ensure that a life support patient does not run out of battery capacity before evacuating to a facility with power or receiving recharged batteries for their medical device.
Certain medical devices, such as stationary oxygen concentrators, draw too much electricity to operate on an internal battery during a power outage. As a result, when a power outage occurs, stationary oxygen concentrators immediately stop working, a limitation that has contributed to a number of reported fatalities in recent power outages.
Assessing the Right Backup Power Source for Life Support and DME Users
Standby Emergency Power Systems – Standby emergency power systems, such as standby generators fueled by natural gas or propane, and large battery storage systems, such as a Tesla Power Wall, offer the most amount of electricity that is automatically available when power cuts out. These systems, which can run anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 for a single-family home, have enough power to run even the largest home medical devices for extended periods of time. A generator with a built-in source of continuously replenished fuel, such as natural gas, can conceivably run for days as long as the natural gas supply remains intact and the generator does not experience any mechanical problems.
Solar powered battery storage systems face limitations in run time based on the storage capacity of the battery system and the availability of solar power to recharge the batteries.
Battery Systems – A number of life support devices and DME used in home settings are equipped with internal batteries that can be augmented by external batteries to extend device run time. These include ventilators, portable oxygen concentrators, heart pumps, BiPAPs, Enteral Feeding pumps, IV Infusion pumps, and suction devices. The manufacturers of many of these medical devices provide external batteries and other battery manufacturers make external batteries that can extend the run time of these devices even further.
How Powered Outage Partners Selects the Battery Systems it Recommends
The external batteries for life support devices made by medical device manufacturers have already received the necessary approvals from the FDA and other regulatory authorities, making these an easy recommendation for Power Outage Partners. However, when it comes to ventilators, not all of the external batteries sold by ventilator manufacturers extend device run time in a significant way. For this reason, Power Outage Partners relies on the expertise of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to identify safe and effective battery systems that can extend device run time significantly longer than the external batteries provided by ventilator manufacturers. EPRI is an independent, non-profit energy research, development and deployment organization with three specialized labs. EPRI’s trusted experts collaborate with more than 450 companies and organizations in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable and equitable access to electricity across the globe.
Ventilator manufacturers and the manufacturers of battery systems vetted by EPRI are working closely with Power Outage Partners to help ensure that ventilator users in Louisiana and elsewhere receive the right external battery for their specific ventilator model.
To determine what battery systems are best suited for your needs, please contact Power Outage Partners, Monday through Friday, from 830 am to 6 pm central time by calling 225-592-2777. You can also use this encrypted form to confidentially provide information to Power Outage Partners about the ventilator you or a loved one is using along with contact information. A Power Outage Partners representative will follow up with you to provide recommendations on suitable battery systems.
Consult an Expert
To help Power Outage Partners determine the right battery to extend the run time of your medical device, please fill out this encrypted form. A Power Outage Partners representative will contact you to provide information about suitable battery systems.