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Fuel Storage for Emergency Preparedness

Hospitals. Critical care agencies. Businesses involved in customer service, like utilities, cellular providers and grocery stores.  City and state emergency response installations. All these and more encompass the universe of entities who rely on stored fuel for emergency situations.

For these and other, the value of fuel lays in enabling them to execute what they have to do in emergency situations.  Hospitals need backup fuel to make sure their emergency generators supply power to those that need it. Businesses and public utilities need to make sure they can service their customers and constituents 365 days a year, no matter what the weather.

By nature, emergencies are unpredictable and uncommon. So fuel sits in storage, waiting for long periods of time until it’s needed.

And when it’s needed, it better be ready to perform.  The costs of failure loom largest in emergency situations.  Those caught in the middle of disasters like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina won’t soon forget how some hospitals and critical installation were affected by generators that couldn’t run because their stored fuel was bad.

These people aren’t looking for excuses. They just want things to work when they’re needed.  Same for businesses like grocery stored and cellular companies and even public utilities.  Their customers need water, need power, need groceries, need service – that’s what they expect, 100% of the time they expect it.

When emergency backup systems and generators don’t run, it’s not because they’re broken. It’s almost always because the stored fuel went bad.  The good news is that the common causes of this – water in the fuel and the impacts of microbes in storage tanks – they’re easy to prevent with a little preventive maintenance and treatment.  The bad news is that a lot of places don’t think to attend to these until there’s already a problem - apart from certain critical use installations like hospitals that are bound by law to do regular fuel checks and to document the health of their fuel.

For everyone else, it’s out of sight, out of mind.

What fuel properties do these groups need to be concerned with? What are the consequences of not meeting these fuel standards from an operational standpoint?  Many times, the cost of prevention far outweighs the cost of failure.

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