Hospital Earthquake Safety Campaign Kicks Off in India
GeoHazards International (GHI) and New Delhi-based GeoHazards Society (GHS) have partnered with Swiss Reinsurance Company (Swiss Re) to launch a multi-year campaign to improve hospital earthquake safety in India. GHI, Swiss Re and GHS are helping Indian hospitals to mitigate their earthquake risks through a multi-year training program that builds upon GHI’s 2009 project (with funding from Swiss Re) to develop a culturally-specific Hospital Earthquake Safety Manual. Hospitals play a crucial role in post-disaster relief work. The manual, Reducing Earthquake Risk in Hospitals from Equipment, Contents, Architectural Elements and Building Utility Systems, and associated training programs provide a valuable resource to Indian hospitals, because they improve their ability to withstand an earthquake and to serve their community.
Delhi is located in the second-highest zone of seismic hazard in India. Delhi’s health sector is vulnerable and at risk. Earthquake damage to hospital equipment, building systems, architectural elements, and furnishings can greatly impact hospital operations, even if the building structure is undamaged. The consequences of earthquake damage can include: key building systems being rendered non-functional; patients or staff being injured or killed by falling objects or by disconnected life support systems; and expensive equipment being damaged or destroyed.
GHI’s detailed but easy-to-use manual provides guidelines to hospitals on how to reduce earthquake-related damage and losses to medical equipment and supplies, contents, architectural elements and building utility systems. The manual also contains information such as how to determine a hospital’s earthquake risk; how to identify items that could fall, slide or topple and injure people; how to anchor and brace those items to reduce risk; and how to prioritize actions to reduce risk according to the hospital’s needs and budget.
The manual was released nationally by India’s Minister for Health and Family Welfare at an event in Delhi. A direct mailing campaign has been launched to all major hospitals in twenty-three earthquake-prone states in India. The manual can be downloaded for free at Hospitals can also request free copies of the manual.
India earthquake zone map courtesy of CC-by-sa PlaneMad/Wikimedia (public domain image).
Now, with support from Swiss Re, GHI will begin working with hospitals to implement earthquake safety measures, and will hold two training workshops for hospital administrators in earthquake-prone states in India. These efforts will begin in two hospitals in Delhi, where GHI and GHS will train hospital staff, assist with earthquake preparedness and planning, and help the hospital staff to anchor and brace vulnerable objects, using the guidance found in the manual.
About Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd
Swiss Re is a leading and highly diversified global reinsurer. The company operates through offices in more than 20 countries. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re offers financial services products that enable risk-taking essential to enterprise and progress. The company’s traditional reinsurance products and related services for property and casualty, as well as the life and health business are complemented by insurance-based corporate finance solutions and supplementary services for comprehensive risk management. Swiss Re is rated “A+” by Standard & Poor’s, “A1″ by Moody’s and “A” by A.M. Best.
Swiss Re has been associated with Asia since 1913 and now has about 1,000 staff in Asia Pacific. The company’s Asian headquarter is in Hong Kong. The company has been present in India since 1998. It established Swiss Re Shared Services (India) Private Ltd in Bangalore in 2000, and opened a Service Company in Mumbai in 2002 to provide service to Swiss Re Zurich in its reinsurance activities. For more information on Swiss Re, please visit: www.swissre.com.
About GeoHazards SocietyGeoHazards Society (GHS) is a not-for-profit organization based in New Delhi working towards making India´s most vulnerable communities safer from earthquakes and other hazards, through preparedness, mitigation and advocacy. Along with its international partner organization, GeoHazards International, the organization has been working in collaboration with National/sub-national Governments and Corporate Sector agencies in conducting programs on Community Preparedness, School Safety, Hospital Safety, engineers training programs, etc. For more information on GHS, please visit www.geohaz.in.