CHICAGO - Fresenius Medical Care North America has designed a mobile generator truck that can be deployed to dialysis clinics in the Chicago area and keep them running during a power outage. The company came up with the idea when a surprise storm temporarily knocked out electricity in the Chicago area several years ago.

With a response time of three hours, the mobile generator truck can be quickly deployed to Fresenius Medical Care dialysis facilities that need backup power during an outage. Patients typically need dialysis every two days, and when storms disrupt electrical power or make routine travel to treatments impractical, any substantial delay in dialysis care can be life-threatening. Fresenius Medical Care clinical staff will be able to operate the truck and have it up and running at a compatible clinic within a half-hour, according to the company. The truck has a fuel capacity of 200 gallons, and can provide power for about 48 hours at a time, and contracts are in place for additional fuel deliveries for extended use.

The truck will initially service Fresenius Medical Care's facilities in the Chicago area, but there are plans to eventually build more trucks to service other parts of the U.S. The cost of each truck can be shared by several facilities in a region, making it an affordable alternative power source for dialysis clinics. When the truck is not being used to provide backup power, it can carry supplies to facilities, even in an emergency.

"The truck doesn't replace land-based generators, which are absolutely essential for certain areas. A mobile generator truck provides backup power in places where it may not be practical to install a permanent generator, particularly in urban areas like Chicago," said George Younes, technical operations manager of Fresenius Medical Care, in a company statement.