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Delivering a Complete Standby Power System for 24/7 Fire Service

Project Description

Overview
The emergency services simply cannot be without sturdy continuous power supplies.  With no power, lives are quite literally at risk.  Wiltshire Fire and Rescue operates 24 vital fire stations throughout it’s region it and turned to shentongroup to provide its headquarters with a turnkey standby power solution including backup generators, and Uninterruptible Power Supply system, supported by shentongroup’s Power Care emergency call-out service.

Problem
With critical 999 calls being managed, Wiltshire Fire and Rescue’s Service HQ in Potterne cannot suffer any loss of power.  Following initial generator provision, the HQ, which covers the whole of Wiltshire, later developed a higher standby power demands, thus requiring an even greater backup generator solution.  Because continuous power is so important and that every second counts when it comes to emergency services, Wiltshire later required an Uninterruptible Power Supply system which further guaranteed continuous power in the unlikely event of reserve power supplies failing.

With a number of other units throughout the region with less critical standby power requirements, Wiltshire Fire and Rescue sought a more cost-effective solution to investing in generators for each and every location.

As the UK’s National Grid experiences some of it’s lowest reserve power levels in recent years, as it fails to replace it’s aged coal power stations quick enough, some sources estimate that this problem will only get worse over the coming years, hence the need for organisations with services critical to continuous power supplies to take action now.

Solution
The first stage of the project saw shentongroup install it’s first standby generator at the Service HQ through an electrical contractor.  The generator was designed to supply standby power to the control room (where 999 calls are answered) and also to the IT suite.  This full, permanently installed standby system ensured that the core service is protected against power failure.

However, as shentongroup’s Strategic Director, Richard Meek detailed, the HQ subsequently required additional reserve power supplies: “Some time after the initial project, as the HQ’s power demands increased, as did the risk of mains power failure, it seemed a wise step to ensure that the HQ’s continuous power supplies were further strengthened.  shentongroup provided an Uninterruptible Power Supply system”.  Richard went on to detail the specifications: “Synchronising with the existing generator, a new generator helped achieve an N+1 solution whereby, in the event of failure of either units, there would always be one independent backup system ready to provide continuous power”.

Because all aspects of the standby power systems needed to be as robust as possible, particularly with the generator element, a Power Care maintenance plan was implemented.   This involves regular servicing and a comprehensive, planned preventative maintenance regime, including regular load bank testing, to ensure the system stays online and at its optimum performance level.

The generators across the fire and rescue estate comprised 8 fixed generator sets.  Some stations, and the main HQ, required a dedicated standby generator solution.  However, other sites only required an emergency generator call-out service and therefore, opted for shentongroup’s Power Call emergency generator service for these locations.

shentongroup’s Richard Meek explained the varying generator requirements: “There are a number of considerations for a generator call-out service.  It’s a cost-effective solution without the need for capital expenditure. It doesn’t take up valuable external space and the load can be managed to match the generator capacity. However, there can be a delay while the generator is delivered.  For areas that can tolerate a delay in power of up to 3 hours, like Wiltshire Fire and Rescue’s other sites, they will be secure enough with a generator call-out service”.

shentongroup managed the installation of the Power Call connection equipment (in line with the IEE Engineering Guidelines 17th edition) and also preparation work at each site including; running cables, fixing equipment and generator socket.

Over one year after provision, due to poor power in the area of Service HQ, work was carried out to modify the control set-up so the generator could be over-ridden from the control room. This involved extending a control over-ride panel into the control room from the current switch location, providing greater security and peace-of-mind for the power supply.

A month later, a generator socket was specified for another station as part of refurbishment work, including re-wire and building works. Once the works were completed the Power Call service was rendered operational at this site.

Outcomes
It is now extremely unlikely for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service HQ to ever experience a loss in power, thus guaranteeing that it can respond to the high volume of life-critical calls it receives each and every day of the year.  A number of generators and an Uninterruptible Power Supply system at the Service HQ are all further supported by shentongroup’s Power Care comprehensive support and maintenance contract.

The supporting units with less dependence on continuous power supplies now enjoy peace of mind through shentongroup’s Power Call service that will have a backup generator onsite in up to three hours, with 23 minutes being the record to date!

About shentongroup
shentongroup is the UK’s leading technical expert in standby power, uninterruptible power supplies, and combined heat and power supplies. The company provides power solutions to organisations spanning a broad array of industries that rely on continuous power supplies and includes; finance, telecoms, IT, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, education, government, utilities, and sport and leisure.

shentongroup Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Systems, complete with Automatic Mains Failure (AMF) Panels, also referred to as Automatic Transfer (ATS) Boards, monitor the incoming AC mains supply and with no break in power, activate the standby power supply when mains power fails.  When the mains supply returns, the AMF Panel controls a return to the mains supply.

Providing emergency power generator access 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year through a nationwide network of power generator engineers and depots, Power Call aims to have a generator on-site and running within one hour of a power failure. shentongroup’s record for delivering an emergency standby generator is 23 minutes and the company is so confident of it’s response times and efficiency that it guarantees client’s generator power within three hours – or their money back.

Power Care sees shentongroup’s nationwide network of engineers rapidly providing standby generator maintenance, HV & LV switchgear maintenance, generator load bank testing, refuelling, fuel polishing and backup power remote monitoring