ELECTRIC POWER GENERATION IN THE AFTERMATH OF A MAJOR DISASTER
Copyright © 2007 Will Gruver
Mother nature is fierce. She haunts mankind’s assertions that we are the dominant force on Earth. Countless times she has beaten this belief out of us with lethal force. We are often left completely defenseless to the natural disasters rained down on us by one of the last untamable aspects of our existence.
Despite the intimidating forces working against us, technologies have been developed to withstand the onslaught of uncontrolled meteorological events. In addition to building defenses, such as dams and levies, we have engineered detection tools such as the weather radar and tsunami warning systems. To help us cope in the aftermath of a major weather event, we have even engineered numerous devices targeted at helping us to achieve the fastest recovery times possible.
The United States government has established numerous agencies dedicated solely to disaster relief. These agencies target those affected by the worst nature has to offer, and they do everything in their power to comfort those affected by disaster.
In the aftermath of the F-5 tornado that decimated Greensburg, Kansas, the state and federal governments as well as the Red Cross brought many resources to the town to help speed the recovery of this small Kansas town. Of those resources brought to the area, the electric power generator was one that was definitely appreciated by those who sought to help those who had just lost everything.
One of the most difficult aspects of natural disasters is that they typically knock out power to entire regions or areas. This can be particularly damaging, because of the dependency that so many people have on their power supply.
The Importance of Electricity
While it may seem frivolous to quantify the importance of electricity, it is an aspect of our daily lives that is typically overlooked or taken for granted. Every part of our daily lives is tied to our consumption of power.
We store our food in electric refrigerators. We cool and heat our homes with climate control units. We rely on electricity to keep out lifesaving machinery functioning properly. With the mastery of power, we have been successfully able to populate some of the most inhospitable climates of the world and thrive in that environment.
Emergencies that knock out power are common, but it can often take days, if not weeks to restore a broken power grid. It is frequently impossible to store food for such long time frames. Having a back up power supply, in the event of such a difficult time, can mean the difference between life and death, depending on the severity of the situation and the length of the power outage.
Electric Power Generators
The significance of electricity has lead many people in high-risk areas to invest in generators. Having a means of producing power when everyone else is in the dark can prove to be a tremendously advantageous.
There are several different models of emergency generators available for disaster situations. Gas powered temporary generators can be installed outside of the home to provide temporary relief for the basic electronics needed to function in daily life.
Permanent back up generators can be installed in a home that is prone to power loss. A professional must install this kind of generator because it links directly into a home’s power service entrance. In the event of a power outage, a back-up generator will automatically kick in and begin powering the house within 20 seconds. Natural gas generators are traditionally connected to a home’s gas line to avoid the need to be refilled.
In addition to providing essential care and comfort, having power can also encourage humanitarian thoughts and lead one to help their neighbors who are also in need.
In the aftermath of a large tragedy, it is important to restore order as quickly as possible. The longer people are away from the routine of their daily lives, the more chaotic the aftermath of a disaster. Establishing order in a chaotic environment is essential to allowing emergency crews to access all potentially injured people in a timely manner.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, concerned citizens donated hundreds of generators to the American Red Cross from other parts of the country and the world. It was obvious that order needed to be restored to the region as quickly as possible, to allow people to begin rebuilding their lives in the face of such destruction.
An estimated 3 million people were left without power in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Generators became the only thing keeping hospital patients from death. Despite careful planning and preparation, the loss of life during this event was alarmingly high.
Emergency rescue crews used portable generators to power their operations and provide relief to a staggering amount of people. From their stable locations, they were able to assist thousands of people searching for an evacuation point or simply in need of food and clean water.
The sweltering heat of Louisiana in September was enough to cause fatal injuries. Relief stations were available to help lower some of the risk of heat-related illnesses, even if it was only temporary.
While disaster relief is an unfortunate necessity, being able to provide some assistance to those in need is an important aspect of all civilized societies. Portable generators are just one piece in the process of restoring order in the aftermath of tragedy.
About The Author:
Written by: Will Gruver of US Power & Environment. USPE's Eden Prairie, MN headquarters, assisted by in-house product technical and operations specialists, has the experience gained from supplying, installing and maintaining on-site energy systems across the country and around the world. They buy, sell, rent and repair natural gas and diesel power generators. To learn more, visit their website at: http://www.uspowerco.com or give them a call at: 877-772-6018