Earlier this year EMGS was given the privilege of having the opportunity to travel overseas to Bagram Air Field near Kabul, Afghanistan to inspect the medical gas System at SSG Heathe N. Craig Joint Theater Hospital. We have done many jobs on military bases here in the United States, but being able to go to a forward operating base was truly an experience that I will never forget, and one that I am truly grateful for.
This facility obviously has many hurdles that typical hospitals would never even imagine having to overcome due to its location and the type of patients it serves, but I want to focus on two of them: the ability to produce and store oxygen in a remote location, and the ability to maintain a vacuum system in the environment and climate in which the facility is located.
Craig Joint Theater Hospital (CJTH) is located approximately 50 mile from Kabul, Afghanistan. There are no oxygen production facilities anywhere near here, and in order to maintain a reliable oxygen system to serve the facility they had to utilize an oxygen generation system. Essentially, they take air and filter out the nitrogen and other elements in order to increase the oxygen content of the gas. As they compress the gas it is pushed through filters increasing the percentage of oxygen. The oxygen content would top out between 91-93% as opposed to the typical 99.5-99.9% coming off of Oxygen bulk tanks here in the States. In order to have a back up system the facility would use this gas to fill standard “H” cylinders and hook them up to emergency headers. As you can imagine this system is quite large and requires a tremendous amount of energy to function.
The facility also has a constant fight to maintain the vacuum pump systems. The systems face two obstacles at all times. The fine dust and dirt in the area that the hospital is located, and the fact that the hospital is located nearly 5000 ft. above sea level. The pumps themselves required maintenance at more regular intervals than typical systems due to the dust, and there is a higher stress load on the pumps because of the altitude. At close to 5000 ft. above sea level the correction factor for the vacuum load is 20% more than a system at sea level.
The facility was designed with these challenges and many others in mind. The typical medical gas system has redundancies built in to ensure that a medical gas is never totally lost, but CJTH takes this to another level. The facility has two sets of source equipment with each one serving half of the hospital. They have an intricate system in which they can feed the entire facility from either set of source equipment.
With all of the additional obstacles that a facility like this one faces it was clear to see that the prevention of a loss of medical gas to the patient was something that was of high priority.
Did you know that we offer online medical gas reporting for our customers? This service is available to all of our customers by requesting a secure login. Benefits include easy and quick viewing of reports, testing history, and searchable fields that quickly locate a specific room or piece of equipment to its’ activity. All service calls, quotes, reports, and any other transaction that has occurred between EMGS and a facility is recorded within this online system for seamless record keeping.
Contact us today to request a demo and/or login! 770-459-5920.
The 2012 edition of NFPA 99 has added a new paragraph section for medical gas maintenance programs (Para. 220.127.116.11.2). Schedules for these maintenance programs are to be established by the individuals responsible for risk assessment in the facilities, in conjunction with the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. Inspection procedures should be in place for each facility to insure that these schedules are being followed to maintain an appropriate level of patient care and to avoid costly equipment failures.
There are some recommendations for inspection and testing operations for specific pieces of medical gas equipment, as well as suggested intervals for these operations to occur. The 2012 edition of NFPA 99 has also addressed qualifications for persons maintaining these types of systems, suggesting three ways in which appropriate qualifications can be demonstrated. These ways include training and certification through the health care facility, credentialing to the requirements of ASSE 6030, and/or credentialing to the requirements of ASSE 6040. While actual “hands on training” is a very important factor in qualifying maintenance personnel, the ASSE standards raise awareness in many areas of safety, documentation, and procedures which could otherwise be overlooked.
EMGS has been conducting classes for compliance with the ASSE standards for several years in a facility designed to insure these issue are addressed. Contact Terri Clayton at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on training your maintenance personnel, and obtaining the ASSE 6040 credential.