New methodology can design efficient plans for hospital system response to earthquakes

In an more and more urbanized world, inhabitants density usually results in extra deaths and accidents when floods, typhoons, landslides and different disasters strike cities.

However the dangers to life and limb are compounded when earthquakes are the agent of destruction, as a result of they not solely kill and maim however also can cripple the hospitals wanted to deal with survivors.

Now, a world analysis group led by the Stanford Blume Middle for Earthquake Engineering has developed a technique to assist catastrophe preparedness officers in giant cities make contingency plans on a region-wide foundation to be sure that emergency responders can get sufferers to the hospital services which are likeliest to stay in fee after a quake.

Beforehand, most hospital preparedness plans might solely take a look at smaller areas as a result of they targeted on single hospitals,” mentioned Anne Kiremidjian, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and a co-author, with colleague Greg Deierlein, of a paper revealed in Nature Communications.

Regional response to quakes just isn’t fully new in quake-prone California, the place after the 1994 Northridge earthquake the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Companies Company used shortwave and ham radios to coordinate the motion of sufferers amongst 76 hospitals within the injury zone.

To guarantee hospital survivability, the California state legislature has mandated that each one acute care hospitals are introduced as much as present seismic requirements by 2030. “We have to make sure that hospitals stay operational to deal with sufferers and keep away from better lack of life,” Deierlein mentioned.

The brand new analysis gives catastrophe response officers in seismically lively international locations like Turkey, Chile, Indonesia or Peru with an efficient however comparatively easy approach to create regional contingency plans: Begin by utilizing statistical danger evaluation fashions to estimate the place deaths and accidents are likeliest to happen in populous metropolitan areas; apply building-specific efficiency evaluation strategies to undertaking how a lot injury completely different hospitals would possibly undergo; and map out one of the best routes between hospitals ought to the necessity come up to maneuver injured sufferers to much less broken services with accessible capability.

The brand new regional planning methodology comes at a time when the world is awakening to the results of inhabitants progress and dense urbanization. When the researchers checked out 21,000 disasters which have occurred worldwide since 1900, half of these with the biggest damage totals occurred over the last 20 years. For instance, the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Izmit, Turkey, prompted roughly 50,000 accidents and disrupted 10 main hospitals.

Luis Ceferino, who coordinated the analysis as a PhD candidate in civil engineering at Stanford, mentioned the paper targeted on what occurred in 2007, after an magnitude earthquake struck the town of Pisco, about 150 miles from Lima, Peru. Pisco misplaced greater than half its complete variety of hospital beds in a couple of minutes.

Ceferino additionally labored with two different two consultants in hospital responses, professor Celso Bambarén from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru and Judith Mitrani-Reiser of the U.S. Nationwide Institute of Requirements and Expertise, who gathered post-quake injury assessments from the Pisco temblor and the 8.Eight magnitude temblor that occurred in 2010 close to Maule on the central coast of Chile, information that additionally helps to tell the brand new methodology.

“Hospital techniques are on the core of catastrophe resilience,” mentioned Ceferino, who will grow to be an assistant professor of civil and concrete engineering at New York College in 2021. “Cities want regional contingency plans to make sure that hospitals, medical doctors and medical groups are able to look after our most weak populations.”


Journal reference:

Ceferino, L., et al. (2020) Efficient plans for hospital system response to earthquake emergencies. Nature Communications.

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