New hurricane flood barriers to protect hospital generators

A new network of flood barriers at the Cayman Islands hospital will help ensure one of the island’s most critical facilities remains powered in the event of a hurricane.

The barriers have been installed to keep the hospital’s huge ground floor generator dry and running around the clock if power is disrupted in a hurricane, explained Facility Manager, Derrick Tibbetts.

The hospital has acquired the $110,000 network of barriers as part of a joint initiative with the National Hurricane Committee and the Department of Public Works.

During Hurricane Ivan, 21 inches of water flooded into the building the generator and electrical transformers are housed in, forcing administrators to shut the generator down.

With the addition of the new barriers, the generator will be protected from flooding to a height more than double what was experienced during the worst of Ivan.

‘It will make us feel a lot more secure in the future,’ said Dr. John Vlitos, acting director of support services. ‘If the generator is going and you know it is safe, that will help us quite a lot,’ he said.

‘Any doctor that was here during Hurricane Ivan will appreciate just how important that is.’

Mr. Tibbetts explained the $110,000 cost of the barriers is only a fraction of what it cost the hospital to reinstall vast amounts of electrical wiring that were damaged during Hurricane Ivan.

Dr Vlitos commented that moving the generator would be a massive exercise, which would also require the hospital to be re-wired.

‘This is the most immediate and best way to protect the generator,’ he said.

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