We all know about the seismic risks to buildings in California, including health care facilities. The California Healthline recently reported the summary information available as of November 6, 2010.
Unfortunately, although mandates for seismic retrofit was established many years ago, the vast majority of hospitals have not been officially evaluated for potential collapse in a major seismic event.
California does not require hospitals to determine their collapse risks, but facilities can do so voluntarily. Hospitals also do not need to determine collapse risks for each of their individual facilities, making it difficult for some hospitals to determine which building to retrofit first.
Efforts To Assess Risk
In 2002, California compiled a list of 1,100 hospitals that could pose a risk of collapse during an earthquake. Of those, the state conducted complex evaluations of 370 hospital buildings and determined that 280 facilities had low enough collapse risks to qualify for the 2030 seismic safety deadline.
State authorities now are focusing on about 700 hospital buildings that were placed in the highest-risk category.
Of those, the state has determined collapse risks for only 90 facilities. Fourteen of those 90 facilities have been assigned collapse risks of between 10% and 32%, far higher than the 1.2% collapse risk that officials deemed reasonably safe.
A map showing the location of hospitals with buildings that have a 10 to 32 percent chance of collapsing in an earthquake. Click on this link to see more information about the 14 buildings located at these hospitals.
What's left are about 700 hospital buildings in the highest-risk category that still face deadlines to make changes. Officials only know the collapse risk for about 90 of those buildings, which range from .75 to 32 percent.