Power restored at hospital after blast knocked out electricity - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Power restored at hospital after blast knocked out electricity

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The explosion site located on a 50-year old electrical bus bar.  The explosion knocked out power to half of Baptist South. The explosion site located on a 50-year old electrical bus bar. The explosion knocked out power to half of Baptist South.
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

"You still had everything we needed for patient safety," says Nurse Kelly Benson.

Except for the shock factor, employees at Baptist Medical Center South didn't skip a beat.

"Everything inside the nurses' station was fully operational," adds Benson.

The hospital quickly switched to generator power seconds after an electrical explosion knocked out the lights.

"We immediately go in to what we consider an internal disaster," says Chief Executive Officer, Robin Barca.

The blast was small--a hole in the middle of a metal conductor.

Getting to it, though, was no small task.

The piece was two stories underground and only accessible by a ladder.

Not to mention, there was a delay getting the new part. The only place officials could find one was Minnesota.

"We then contracted with a truck and two drivers that could drive straight through all 1,200 miles, even in the midst of a snowstorm," adds Barca.

Meanwhile, hospital administrators camped out in what's called the hub--two rooms where officials could monitor the medical center around the clock.

"Where we need to know what's going on with the hospital and what resources we have available," says one administrator.

Essential patient services weren't affected. In fact, anything plugged in to red emergency outlets received generator power.

Things like overhead lights, and televisions did not.

"We were able to get newspapers and magazines for the patients," adds Benson.

"We really were doing everything we could to take care of them," adds Barca.

Because the overhead lights were out many nurses wore head lamps to administer shots and medications.

Administrators also circulated a letter for patients explaining what happened and why certain non-essential services were unavailable.  They ordered extra conductors from the Minnesota company just in case something similar happens again.

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