In an effort to aid sheltering in place and reduce unnecessary loss of life, California has enacted new regulations (see Pin 74) increasing load requirement and coverage for alternative power sources in the instance of power loss.
California Health and Safety Code 1418.22 requires Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) to provide backup power to systems which support resident health and safety. The agencies which will be enforcing this new requirement have said the backup power must now support the following incremental loads:
- Heating and cooling systems to maintain safe temperatures
- Life-saving equipment
- Oxygen-generating devices
Additionally, SNFs are now required to have sufficient fuel onsite to maintain power for no less than 96 hours of continuous operation. Previous requirements to maintain emergency loads was 6 hours.
According to the Advisory Guide provided by the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), the majority of California skilled nursing facilities are unlikely to achieve compliance without a construction process. As noted, many facilities have alternate power sources, but do not generally back-up cooling equipment. Additionally only subacute SNFs historically backed up life-saving equipment and oxygen-generating devices. Finally, while system design may specify onsite storage sufficient for more than 6 hours operation, it is likely very few facilities have intentionally provided more than the code minimum.