Safety

Building a hospital in a tsunami zone?

Hospital Safety Insider, May 21, 2015

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If you’ve ever been to the shores of Gold Beach, Oregon, you understand why the folks who live there along Route 101 wouldn't want to be anywhere else. But it’s not quite paradise. Only about 100 miles off the U.S. Pacific Coast lurks Cascadia, a seismically active fault that stretches 1,000 miles from Canada to northern California. Geologists and emergency management professionals have been preparing for years for what they say is a near certainty that the fault will produce an earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater within the next 50 years. Such a quake will likely produce a large tsunami at least 30 feet high and perhaps as high as 100 feet by some estimates, and Gold Beach lies right on the coast in the middle of a tsunami warning zone.

So why is it that the town just approved the construction of a brand-new, $28-million critical access hospital right in the path of such a potentially destructive wave? Well, the answer lies in the function of necessity vs. the possibility of such a disaster actually occurring, as well as planning contingencies for when the day comes.

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

 



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