Safety

California hospitals reach to quake compliance

Hospital Safety Insider, April 30, 2015

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State officials responsible for making sure California's healthcare facilities will remain operational after a major earthquake say the job is almost done. Meanwhile, hospital officials are celebrating what they say are some of the biggest advances in patient care the state has ever seen, despite construction costs that have exceeded expectations.

As of February 27, OSHPD officials say 89% of the hospitals in California area are at least somewhat ready to withstand a major earthquake of at least magnitude 7. By 2030, they must be retrofitted to remain standing and operational following a quake.

The state has always had the most stringent seismic building standards in the country—due mostly to the fact that it sits virtually on top of a series of active faults. But history shows preparedness can always be improved. After a major quake hit the San Fernando Valley in 1971, killing 65 and causing more than $2 billion in damage, state officials began to take a serious look at California's building codes and how they could be made more efficient. Two years later, the state legislature passed what became known as the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act, which required acute care hospitals to be designed and constructed to remain standing and operational after a major earthquake.

This is an excerpt from an article in Briefings on Hospital Safety. Visit here to log in or subscribe.

 



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