December 2014 - Behind the Scenes: The Important Role of Electricians in Healthcare

There are many SEIU Healthcare members who play an indirect role in our healthcare system. They may not be providing patient care, but they give healthcare staff the essential tools they need to provide the best care possible for their patients. 

Maintenance staff is one group of employees that plays an important role behind the scenes. They repair, maintain, and strengthen the infrastructure of our healthcare facilities. National Healthcare Facilities and Engineering Week, which took place on October 19-25, celebrated this important role.

One of these people is David Blake.

He is an electrician and SEIU Healthcare member who works for Brookfield Johnson Controls, a company that provides maintenance services for Niagara Health Services (NHS) at the St. Catharines hospital. He has been performing work for the NHS for over 33 years, in maintenance for 27 years.

David makes sure the hospital has a steady current of electricity that powers up our modern-day medical tools that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff use to diagnose and treat patients.  

Without electricity, the hospital can’t provide the care patients depend on. If you lose power, you lose lighting, medical equipment, drug pumps, and much more.

David’s job involves doing many different tasks. These include emergency maintenance calls, fixing power outages, making sure the hospital’s heating and air conditioning are working properly, fixing faulty fire alarms, and ensuring the emergency generators are working. If there is a power outage in the middle of winter, these generators need to be working flawlessly to provide hospitals the power to provide care for patients.

One of the things David likes most about his job is being able to troubleshoot problems. “It’s pretty satisfying. To fix something that improves the life of a patient is great. If you fix the power in their room, they are a lot happier. If the nurses have an electrical problem, I always enjoy fixing it. If there’s a tripped breaker in a room, you provide them with the power back as quickly as you can.”

David summed up his job this way: “When we are doing our job right, and things are going well, you won’t even notice that maintenance is even there.”

Let’s salute the men and women like David who are the hidden heroes of our healthcare system. Our healthcare facilities couldn’t function without him.

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