Failure of the mains electrical supply is a particular risk to the critically ill patient. All ICUs should have an emergency generator that automatically switches on when the mains supply fails. This system should be tested periodically. This familiarizes staff with any delay while the system switches over and any actions necessary during the changeover. The risks are further minimized by ensuring that as much equipment as possible has an integral battery back-up. These batteries need to be kept fully charged.
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