GeoHazards International 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. The training program will use a culturally-specific Hospital Earthquake Safety Manual that we developed last year.
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 will help hospitals improve their ability to withstand an earthquake and to serve their community.
India earthquake zone map courtesy of CC-by-sa PlaneMad/Wikimedia (public domain image).
Delhi is located in the second-highest zone of seismic hazard in India. The region's health sector is vulnerable. 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 non-functional; patients or staff injured or killed by falling objects or by disconnected life support systems; and expensive equipment damaged or destroyed.
GHI’s detailed but easy-to-use manual provides guidelines to hospitals on how to reduce earthquake-related damage and losses. It shows how to protect 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.
With support from Swiss Re, we will begin working with hospitals to implement earthquake safety measures, and will hold 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.