by Chris Tokas and Roy Lobo

Chris Tokas and Roy Lobo (2012). HOSPITAL SEISMIC SAFETY PROGRAM AND STRONG MOTION INSTRUMENTATION SMIP12 Seminar on Utilization of Strong-Motion Data, p. 111 - 124.

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The need for functioning hospitals after a major earthquake is obvious and rarely disputed. While emergency field hospitals, medical tents, and air-lifts to available facilities are often used to supplement for damaged hospitals, they will never provide a sufficient substitute. Only modern health care facilities, located within the damaged region and capable of functioning at full capacity can adequately provide the needed medical assistance.

The Health and Safety code requires insofar as practicable California hospital buildings to continue to provide services after a disaster and designed and constructed for forces generated by earthquake, gravity, and wind. While the expected operational performance of new hospital buildings can be estimated with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the performance of existing structural, non-structural and operational components are more difficult to ascertain. The degree of nonstructural damage or inherent structural damage can be difficult to ascertain immediately after a seismic event. Current seismic codes have come a long way since the start of seismic design. However there is a large inventory of the hospital buildings that predate modern seismic codes. Even hospital buildings designed with modern seismic codes have not been seriously tested in a large urban earthquake. With practical and monetary limits to laboratory testing, it makes sense to instrument hospital buildings to determine actual performance in an earthquake. There is also a need for use of the instrument recordings to provide automated damage indicators in these instrumented hospital buildings. Such instrumented damage indicators are required to supplement the traditional visual inspections immediately after a seismic event to make quick and reliable decision on whether to evacuate damaged buildings.