Chapter 32 of NFPA 70B provides a useful framework for recovering electrical equipment and systems after a disaster

Blog Post created by barrychase Employee on Sep 11, 2017

In the midst of a very active and powerful hurricane season, many building owners and managers of industrial and commercial facilities are facing the daunting process of disaster recovery. In determining the best means of restoring electrical systems and equipment to full operation, a decision must be made whether to repair or replace each damaged piece of equipment. Chapter 32, Electrical Disaster Recovery, of NFPA 70B: Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, 2016 edition, is now available as a free, standalone, downloadable resource from NFPA and includes the following guidance on making these important assessmentsNFPA 70B, 70B

  • Seek the services of qualified equipment assessment personnel, whether manufacturer representatives or subject matter experts.
  • Establish priorities for each system and/or piece of equipment. This will become important as you consider lead times and resource allocation for different recovery options.
  • Determine the availability of parts, direct replacement equipment, and/or dissimilar replacement equipment. It could be necessary to modify the existing system in order to accommodate a different model or a newer technology as a replacement.
  • Understand the effect of each recovery option on the future performance of the equipment and the system, as well as the ability of the original manufacturer to support the equipment. Equipment performance could be compromised as a result of repairs.
  • Consider the lead time and financial impact of each recovery option. Costs associated with an extended downtime could exceed the additional material and labor costs associated with a more rapid recovery solution.
  • Determine whether the repair contractor is qualified to do the work and whether the repairs can be made on site.
  • Consider the age of the damaged equipment and any planned obsolescence.
  • Verify that the authority having jurisdiction will allow repair or replacement of the affected equipment.
  • Review the list of other industry standards and guidelines in 32.2.8 for pertinent information.


Even with these factors in mind, the choice between repair and replace will not always be a simple one. However, following these simple suggestions can be the difference between an impossible task and an informed decision.


Remember to always document the details of the recovery process in a project summary report. See 32.2.16.


The complete current edition of NFPA 70B and related resources are available for free access or to purchase at


Additional disaster-related resources can be found on NFPA's disaster webpage, including tip sheets, related code information, articles, and more.