Technology Could Affect Seismic Safety Deadlines
Using advanced technology to re-evaluate the safety of 1,111 medical facilities could reduce costs for some hospitals and provide deadline extensions for complying with state seismic safety standards for others, the AP/Los Angeles Daily News reports.
A 2001 survey found that 40% of California's hospitals were at high risk of collapsing during a major earthquake. However, the evaluations primarily considered the structure of a building. Some hospitals were placed in the high-risk category because they could not afford to hire inspectors.
The new technology is used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess risk from natural disasters. Experts say it is more accurate than previous evaluation methods because it considers a number of factors when determining seismic risk.
The California Hospital Association, the California Seismic Safety Commission and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development support the re-evaluation.
Legislation likely would be needed to authorize the re-evaluations. Kurt Schaefer, deputy director of OSHPD, said he expects that the re-evaluations would be performed at no cost to hospitals (Chang, AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 7/3).