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Once floodwaters have receded, the fire is put out, or the wind has stopped howling, facility managers have to begin the task of evaluating what systems survived unscathed, which will need repair, and which will need replacement altogether. Recently, the National Fire Protection Association released a checklist to help, specifically to evaluate electrical systems post disaster.
The checklist is based on recommendations in Chapter 32 of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance (2019 edition). The checklist includes steps for assessing equipment, a Priority Assessment Table, and steps to help identify factors for replacement or repair. For example, medium-voltage equipment including distribution transformers is the highest priority of equipment to evaluate, while evaluating electric motors that were flooded out is third on the priority list.
Some of the factors that impact the repair or replace equation can only be considered after the event, but other pieces of information might best be gathered before disaster strikes. In their emergency preparedness pre-planning, facility managers might want to chase down questions such as whether or not the manufacturer is still in business or if the authority having jurisdiction will even allow replacement.
Naomi Millán is senior editor of Building Operating Management.