Chiller Hire for Body Storage

in Outsourcing

Chilled body storage is primarily required at mortuaries and morgues (within hospitals or elsewhere) where post-mortem examinations are carried out, and when bodies need to be stored awaiting funerals.

At these facilities additional body storage can sometimes be a necessity, for example when existing equipment fails and a back-up solution is needed or during mortuary refurbishment. Extra body storage may also be required in military situations if a number of bodies are being repatriated.

Body Storage during an epidemic
When an epidemic strikes – e.g. if there is a flu outbreak, hospitals like to know they are prepared with a contingency plan.

In 2008, the Department of Health published guidance on how to manage a pandemic, which includes advice on ‘end of life' care. The guidance requires that all Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities produce emergency plans to deal with the deceased in the event of a pandemic outbreak resulting in mass fatalities.

In the case of a pandemic, there may be an increase in the number of people dying at home, which could in turn lead to a greater number of post-mortem examinations having to be authorised by the coroner. This will put added strain on mortuaries performing post-mortem examinations, and may result in bodies being stored for longer than seven days in temporary facilities prior to an examination.

How body storage can be increased

A mortuary is used for the storage of human corpses awaiting identification, or removal for autopsy or disposal by burial, cremation or otherwise. In modern times mortuaries have customarily been refrigerated to delay decomposition. Ways in which a mortuary can increase body storage capacity include:

- Hiring a body storage box that has a set capacity but acts as a standalone unit and can be operable within six hours.

- Converting an existing room using hired chillers, racking and body boards.

Mortuary Estates Department Managers usually turn to a chiller hire company to source the required equipment, ancillary gear and something even a generator when required.

Forward-planning is the key

Death rates across the UK generally increase in winter so it is then that a requirement for extra capacity at mortuaries can arise. In the preceding months, an Estates Department manager should be concerned with having the correct equipment available if and when needed.

During the summer, chiller rental firms will often receive phone calls from hospitals and other mortuary facilities enquiring about hire costs, equipment availability, and response times. All this allows an Estates Department manager to estimate their own costs for the year, and to have an adequate budget in place to cover any additional equipment hire if needed.

To respond efficiently, a chiller hiring company will need to:

- Understand the overall area at the mortuary that they will be required to keep cold (the area size and the number of potential bodies stored would determine the type of rented chiller and air handling units provided)

- Know the required temperature to maintain at the mortuary (this could also have an impact on the size of the hired units supplied)

Location of equipment and placing of air handling units inside mortuaries can often be an issue, in fact, so the option to feed cold air in from an external source (and to also position a hired generator there if the facility does not have enough spare 3-phase power available) offers a solution to any location and placement problems.

Peace of mind for facility managers is assured

Although chiller hire companies rarely have to respond to emergency calls from frantic Estates Department managers, they can often find themselves on site at a mortuary in the summer or autumn, formulating a contingency plan with the manager and his team.

All this means the chiller hire specialist will have all the specific information required, should the facility ever need their help, and the Estates Department manager can enjoy peace of mind knowing that a back-up option from an experienced expert is always there, 24/7, and all-year-round.

Author Box
Carl Webb has 6 articles online

Article submitted by Carl Webb, Specialist Hire Director at Andrews Sykes. Andrews Sykes is the UK's largest specialist in chiller rental services to mortuaries and morgues. Andrews Sykes provide chillers to virtually all industry sectors using machinery sourced from the world’s top manufacturers.

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Chiller Hire for Body Storage

This article was published on 2012/02/22