Hospitals are a vital part of our civic infrastructure, and never more so than during natural disasters. Doug Parris recently contributed an article to Medical Construction & Design that details how medical centers can remain operational throughout such catastrophic events.
As healthcare executives develop contingency plans, they consider both evacuation and “defend-in-place” protocols. NBBJ has helped develop these strategies with Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington; the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina; and the Department of Veterans Affairs in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Omaha, Nebraska; among other providers.
Each institution faces its own unique challenges, due to its specific location and civic context. Seattle faces earthquakes; New Orleans faces hurricanes and flooding; and Charleston regularly faces hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes rivaling those on the West Coast.
Each region furnishes its own advantages and disadvantages, but considering a few vital principles — programming, independent systems and access — can prepare a hospital to defend in place.