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One of essential questions in terms of the safety hospitals is how can we determine whether the hospital is safe or not.
The Disaster Mitigation Advisory Group (DiMAG), a group of expert engineers, architects, health services administrators and disaster specialists are working on development of low-cost, easy-to-use indicators for estimations of hospitals’ safety. One of these indicators is called “Hospital Safety Index”. This tool provides opportunity to rank the level of safety, to prioritize actions and to monitor the progress.
The Hospital Safety Index incorporate general information on each facility’s level of complexity, the population it serves, the number of health staff it has, natural hazards prevalent in the area, and disaster history. The appropriate checklist is used and questions is targeted to understood as much as possible about:
-structural components of the hospitals (load bearing walls, foundations, columns, etc. and are targeted to the design and integrity of the building to withstand earthquakes, floods or other disasters
-non-structural components include the safety of internal infrastructure, communication system, lifeline facilities, water supply, emergency and fire suppression system, laboratory services, architectural elements such as laboratory equipment, furnishings, ventilation or electrical systems
- Functional elements for safety include accessibility, policies, staff preparedness, and operational and security systems.
Each component’s safety is ranked as high, medium or low, following a series of pre-determined standards.