Software Advances Goal of State Seismic Safety Law
Using software developed by the Federal Emergency Management Association to help determine whether hospital buildings will be able to withstand an earthquake "is a common-sense solution that preserves the original legislative intent of the state's seismic compliance law," Sens. Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego) and Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks) write in a Sacramento Bee opinion piece (Ducheny/Cox, Sacramento Bee, 11/17).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency developed the software application, called HAZUS, in the 1990s to assess buildings' structural susceptibility to natural disasters. In gauging the safety of hospital facilities, the tool will consider factors including:
- Buildings' distance from fault lines;
- Makeup of soil hospitals are built on; and
- Structural safety of hospital buildings.
The senators write that they "support the adoption of this new technology, which did not exist when California's seismic safety compliance law won approval more than a decade ago."
"By applying this sophisticated new tool, as well as a bit more reason and flexibility, we can now ensure that the highest-risk hospital buildings are brought into seismic compliance first, and that we don't unnecessarily reduce availability of health care services by needlessly forcing the closure of more hospitals," Ducheny and Cox write (Sacramento Bee, 11/17). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.