California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

UC-San Diego Studies Hospital Interiors During Earthquakes

On Tuesday, structural engineers at UC-San Diego began a $5 million experiment to examine the effects of an earthquake on the inside of hospitals, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.

According to the AP/Chronicle, the project is distinctive because it will test the seismic sustainability of structures and items located inside of medical facilities -- such as elevators, stairs and medical equipment -- instead of the buildings themselves.

Project Details

The project -- funded by government agencies, foundations and other organizations -- involves an 80-foot structure built on top of a large mechanism that will shake to simulate an earthquake.

The top two floors of the structure include an intensive care unit and a surgery room.

The structure also includes:

  • Computer servers;
  • Electrical equipment and wiring;
  • Functional sprinklers;
  • Heating and air conditioning;
  • Large and small laboratory equipment; and
  • Modern ceiling systems.

More than 500 sensors and 80 cameras will be placed in the structure to monitor the effects of the shaking.

Researchers expect to spend the next year analyzing data before publishing their findings (Watson, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/17).

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