||For example, on
January 17, 1994, at 4:31 AM Pacific Standard Time, an earthquake
registering 6.8 on the Richter scale occurred in a previously unrecognized
fault in Los Angeles County's San Fernando Valley, killing at least 60
people. The earthquake caused considerable damage to health facilities and
significant health service disruption. Immediately after the shaking
stopped, structural and nonstructural damage forced several hospitals to
evacuate patients and move operations outside (9,10). Structural
damage forced several older hospitals and medical buildings to cease or
reduce operations. During the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed an
estimated 7,000 people, a total of 4,397 hospital beds were lost--about one
in four of those available in the metropolitan Mexico City area (119).
Hospital emergency plans in earthquake areas should provide for the
contingency of evacuating patients from the wards; safely removing critical
equipment from operating theaters, radiology departments, and other parts of
the hospital; and re-establishing routine patient-care services (120).