Updated: Friday, 02 Nov 2012, 6:07 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 02 Nov 2012, 6:07 PM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Hurricane Sandy will no doubt teach Americans many lessons. Ironically, one lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina seven years ago is being realized right now at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Like all hospitals, Sentara Norfolk relies on generators to run life-sustaining medical equipment when the power goes out. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Facilities Director Larry Smith realized Sentara needed a very large generator in case a hurricane of that scope ever hit the Hampton Roads area.
"Before Katrina, you could look at the generators and say, 'Yeah probably not a good idea,' but after Katrina it shined a different light on the whole situation," Smith said.
Smith says the building, located in flood-prone Ghent, becomes surrounded by a moat in heavy rain. Friday, he revealed to the media the extent intense flooding would have on the hospital and his solution.
The old generators are in the hospital's boiler room, four and a half feet below ground. The new generators are up in a shed-like facility 21 feet above ground.
It took $2 million to relocate and purchase new generators. There is also a new tank underground that can hold enough gas to fuel the generators for 150 hours.
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