By Super User on Friday, 01 April 2016
Category: MMCC News

New Generator at MMCC

There have been many facility projects and add-ons at the Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) that are exciting to see, visible to the public, and which add new or expanded functionality.
This is not one of those projects.

That is because a backup generator system – a portable unit with a transfer switch to supply power in case of an outage – is something that we spend money and time installing, and then hope we never have to use. It doesn’t really offer much in the way of added functionality (rather, it maintains the existing functionality of electrical power in case of an unforeseen outage). It isn’t really something we show off to the public (it is in fact tucked away in the confines of our electrical room with the circuit breaker). And it is not terribly exciting to look at (the generator itself is kept offsite, and the transfer switch is – well – it’s a big, grey switch).

But it is important nonetheless. Think of it as an insurance premium: chances are good that you’ll pay a lot into it, it is likely that you won’t need to use it that often, but when you need it… boy, are you glad you have it!

Most people in California, and in fact in the United States, have been through electrical outages to some degree. At their worst, in most home environments, they can lead to the lapsing of security systems or the loss of whatever food is stored in the refrigerator. But consider an

environment – in a home, clinic, or hospital – where someone relies on specialized medical equipment, environmental control, or where the loss of food supply affects dozens or hundreds of individuals. These are the considerations MMCC takes into account when assessing our needs. We store up to 7,500 pounds of fish on-site for our patients, and if that stock is lost it is typically more than a one-day turnaround to replace. We rely on power to maintain heating pads, to operate blood analysis machines, x-ray machines, sample freezers, even the blenders for grinding the liquid diets for our more critical patients. And perhaps the biggest power draw of all: our filtration system, which provides a clean, safe environment in which our patients can swim and eat. A portable generator will ensure that, in the event of an extended outage, we have a guarantee that facility operations will continue virtually uninterrupted.

With all this in mind, it is no wonder that when the not-very-exciting generator truck pulled up to test our new system, and giant, black cables were attached to our big, gray transfer switch, all in the back corner of our electrical room… we were there to take pictures.

Thanks to MAR3INE and the generous donors for making this exciting upgrade possible.

Written by David Bard