FEMA Mitigation Best Practices: Hospitals Get a Jolt of Reality with Hazus-MH Earthquake Analysis Results   [open pdf - 36KB]

"After an earthquake, injured victims will look for help at local hospitals, but will the hospitals be in shape to offer assistance? In Southern California, hospitals are getting prepared for a 'big one' with a system that uses GIS [geographic information system] technology to estimate hospital building damage and related effects on hospital services. In March 2009, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties completed a two-year study that analyzes economic loss; population impact; and damage to essential facilities including fire and police stations, hospitals, and schools. The study utilized Hazus-MH [multi-hazards] - loss estimation software based on GIS technology-to calculate estimated physical damage and functional loss from earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Two earthquake scenarios provided local decision makers with a more complete understanding of the impact these disasters would have. Area hospital groups were especially interested in using the analysis results to get a better view of which hospital facilities might be damaged and how many and where acute care beds would be available. 'Forewarned is to be forearmed,' said Christina Bivona-Tellez, regional vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California. 'If we are left standing, do we have the capacity to protect and save lives? Both Riverside and San Bernardino counties are sitting on the San Andreas Fault, and we are overdue for an earthquake.' The probability of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake striking the greater Los Angeles area over the next 30 years is 67 percent according to the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities."

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