sent reference contacts and guided the statement of need for the Pre- Disaster Mitigation Program funding application . “ Kaua ‘ i is a remote location so people would have a difficult time going someplace else if Wilcox was shut down ,“ Kurt said . “ There ‘ s no other option for people during a mass casualty or disaster . We ‘ re an island and we don ‘ t have a connection to another power grid . It ‘ s fragile .“
The grant request gained more strength when Larry Kanda , disaster mitigation planner for the Hawai ‘ i Emergency Management Agency ( HI-EMA ), added it to Hawai ‘ i ‘ s multi-hazard mitigation plan . In his more than two decades with HI-EMA , he ‘ s been a part of similar projects including getting emergency generators to keep Honolulu ports open . But the $ 4 million in funding Wilcox received was most impressive . “ We thought it had a chance , but getting the maximum amount the grant would allow was really encouraging ,“ Larry said .
The fact that HPH committed to pay the additional $ 9 million for the project also helped secure the federal funds . At the same time , the Wilcox Health Foundation successfully raised money to upgrade Wilcox ‘ s Emergency Department , which is the island ‘ s only Level III Trauma Center .
It all added up . Wilcox also worked closely with , and is thankful for , city , county , state and federal representatives who supported HI-EMA ‘ s efforts . As HI-EMA noted , the pre-disaster mitigation is key as we forecast future needs based on the science of today . “ We ‘ re seeing the largest storms come through ,“ Larry said . “ Hurricane Iniki was a category three . Hurricane Douglas last year was a category four , so that can cause a lot more damage .“
The new generators are definitely more efficient with automatic transfer switches and transformers .
“ It ‘ s three times the power of the two previous generators ,“ said Roland Resurreccion , project manager for HPH Design and Construction . “ With the old system there were some areas where there were manual switches . Certainly this project has taken that next step to automate that technology with paralleling switchgears and switchboards . The computerized software and equipment has advanced in terms of running the generators and communicating with detail logs to show everything is running efficiently .“
The three one-megawatt generators will also power up the entire hospital and support any expansion over the next 25 years .
“ This project definitely is at the top of my list in terms of challenging projects ,“ Roland said . Workers had to add a second floor to the building that stored the previous generators to house the equipment . But the trickiest part was transferring power from the old to the new system seamlessly . “ There ‘ s a lot of planning prior to getting the new system online ,“ Roland said . “ Basically you have to unplug the old system and plug in to the new system and in that timeframe we have to make sure that the hospital has power for service .“ By May 2021 , the first phase of the transitions started with the new generators connecting to the old system . In August 2021 , the overnight power switches to the new system begin .
That final switch has immeasurable impact . Wilcox ‘ s 72-bed medical center is prepared to support critical and routine hospital operations in the event of a power outage for Kaua ‘ i ‘ s 72,000 plus residents and thousands of tourists each year . “ Probably 99 % of the people who go to that hospital never think about the generators ,“ Kurt said . “ But healthcare is an electricity-driven industry . We ‘ ve got to be ready . This is really important .“
GIFT OF POWER
Wilcox Medical Center donated the older emergency generators to the County of Kaua ‘ i Department of Public Works . They will be used by the Waste Water Management Division to help add a level of reliability to its operations .
“ While the two 500-kilowatt emergency generators are no longer suitable for emergency medical use , they are still viable , and we are happy to see that they can still be put to good use for the benefit of our community ,“ said Wilcox Medical Center and Kauai Medical Clinic president and CEO Jen Chahanovich .