The refrigerator might not be able to maintain the proper temperature range throughout a power outage. So, you need to remain prepared because you can have only a few hours before your vaccines get compromised after the electricity gets cut off.
Backup power is an effective way to keep your medical-grade freezer running during a power outage to keep your vaccine stock safe.
Why is Consistent Temperature Necessary?
Vaccines are delicate and temperature-sensitive biological substances that get damaged if exposed to temperature fluctuations outside the prescribed range. And that is why you should ensure that the refrigerator keeps running during a power outage.
In the context of vaccine storage in refrigerators, you should know that:
- Vaccines are sensitive to temperature movements
- Vaccines get damaged if the temperatures become warmer than the prescribed limit
- The correct storage temperature range for refrigerated vaccines is 2 to 8 degrees C, and frozen vaccines are -50 to -15 degrees C
During a power outage, some refrigerators’ temperature goes up, which puts your vaccine stock at the risk of damage.
You should not fall behind in following the manufacturers’ guidance to maintain the requisite storage temperature ranges.
There is a high cost of compromised vaccines. You will have to replace the compromised vaccine stock, and that will call for money outgo. Moreover, there will also be disruptions in your medical facility, such as reporting the temperature excursion, vaccine replacement, rescheduling of immunization appointments, etc.
How Long Do Vaccine Refrigerators Maintain the Right Temperature Without Electricity?
If you are not storing your vaccine stock in an advanced medical-grade refrigerator, the temperature will rise above the danger mark after a few hours. Most refrigerators become warmer than 8 degrees C within three hours of a power outage. Typically, refrigerated vaccines should stay between 2 to 8 degrees C.
However, you get medical-grade refrigerators that can remain at the set temperature for several days, even without an electricity supply.
So, the time for which your vaccine stock will remain potent without a backup power depends on the model and type of refrigerator where you are storing them.
Besides, there are other factors– room temperature, the vaccine stock inside the refrigerator, etc.
It will also help if you store water bottles inside the refrigerator to add to the temperature stability.
What are Your Power Backup Options?
The power backup options include–battery power, automatic battery backup power, standard generator, and automatic generator.
The type of backup you use depends on many factors, such as:
- The number of medical storage units that require backup power
- The hours of backup power required
Out of the backup options, it is advisable to use an automatic backup power system. The advantage of an automatic backup system is that it will detect a power loss and automatically supply power to keep the refrigerator running.
But, non-automatic backup power needs to be set up each time there is a power outage. It makes handling power outages more difficult at night, on weekends, and holidays. These power backups do not have a remote monitoring system. It often happens that power outages occur in hazardous weather conditions, and going to your medical facility becomes a safety issue.
Automatic backup systems use batteries to keep your refrigerator running during a power outage. You need to keep your refrigerator plugged into the backup systems so that it can work when the electricity goes out.
Usually, such power backups bear an automatic transfer switch to feed in electricity during power cuts.
But, there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to choosing an automatic backup system. The size and type determine how long they will work and how much power supply you need.
The cost of automatic battery backup systems depends on the runtime.
You should know a bit about the batteries used in backup power systems. Two variants are used: modified sine wave and pure sine wave.
Usually, backup power with a pure sine wave inverter is costlier than backup power with a modified sine wave inverter.
It is also true that there are no such requirements, such as using a pure sine wave inverter for refrigerators in your medical facility. Besides, there is no impact of sine waves on the runtime. There has been a long history of modified sine wave inverters in backup power systems effectively.
There is no need for a backup power system with a pure sine wave inverter for medical refrigerators, which usually adds to the cost.
Generators can also act as a power backup for your refrigerator. As they operate as isolated units, they do not depend on your main electricity supply. Generators provide electricity using a fuel-powered motor. It is advisable to use automatic generators instead of standard generators, although the former costs more than the latter.
Standard generators have to be set up every time you need them, so you require an extra workforce to handle them. However, they can act as a reliable backup source for your refrigerator.
Tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a few tips for preparedness for power outages, which are as follows:
- If you use a generator, do not let the fuel tank become empty. Have enough fuel in the generator to run for at least 72 hours.
- Test your backup units periodically to ensure that they are working properly.
- Ensure you follow the backup manufacturer’s guidelines in handling your backup systems.
You should not allow power outages to damage your vaccine stock. Install a power backup to ensure that your vaccine refrigerators run without failure during power cuts. This article will provide you with the proper guidance.