Hospital Safety

Hospitals are critical infrastructure that has an extremely important role in the post-disaster scenario. Many past disastrous events have left hospitals non-functional. It is also not enough that the hospital building is strong enough to withstand the effects of a disaster, but all the critical equipment and services in the building have to remain secure and operational to operate at over 300% of its design capacity to serve the dependent community after any disaster like an earthquake, flood, major fire, and terror attacks. There is a need for a higher level of preparedness to manage the incoming patients and provide them with the best facility. It is important that the decision-makers and other staff in health facilities understand the importance of the factors affecting functional continuity and take steps to mitigate these. 

Making a health facility safer is as much about having vision and commitment as it is about actual resources. However, ensuring that the hospital is disaster-resilient goes beyond the physical structure and to ensure that all these hospitals are functional and continue to provide emergency health care after a disastrous event, it is critical we ensure the staff members of the hospital are prepared to respond to such events.

GeoHazards Society (GHS – www.geohaz.in) has been working with hospitals across India and neighboring countries such as Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar, etc. with this mission to keep hospitals safe as well functional from various natural hazardous events with its international partner GeoHazards International (GHI – www.geohaz.org)  GHS has done extensive work towards hospital safety and functionality with national and state governments as well as international organizations such as WHO, UNDP. 

Work with NDMA with support from Swiss Reinsurance Company India

In between 2008-2015, we have developed a Non-structural risk reduction manual and implement it in 8 major hospitals, conduct a number of workshops, one at Delhi with NIDM and the other at Agartala with TSDMA. 

The key activities included: 

  • Implementation of a program that prepares hospitals to be functional after an earthquake, by backing up utility systems, anchoring heavy objects, and planning how to evacuate
  • Developing a manual and training class to instruct hospital administrators, engineers and maintenance staff how to identify and mitigate risk from things that, if they fail or fall during any incident, will disrupt medical care and safety of patients (utility systems, medical equipment, furnishings, pipes, tanks, mechanical and architectural elements)
  • Taught disaster safety awareness and preparedness planning to more than 450 hospital administrators and facilities personnel.
  • Developed training materials for doctors and nurses that included presentations, interactive exercises, instructor and student guides. 
  • We have implemented the guidance and trained staff in 8 major hospitals: Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital (Delhi); Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (New Delhi); Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital (Delhi); Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital (Delhi); Agartala Government Medical College and Hospital (Tripura); Tripura Medical College and Hospital (Tripura); L.N.J.P. Hospital (New Delhi); Medanta Medicity (Gurgaon), held workshops to train staff from additional hospitals in Delhi and Tripura how to maintain hospital functionality during disasters and distributed the manual throughout India, and made it available for download online. 

Reducing Earthquake Risk in Hospitals – from Equipment, Contents, Architectural Elements, and Building Utility Systems 

(This manual is a copyrighted document being provided to you solely in order to help you to reduce your earthquake risk. You are free to download, distribute and transmit this Manual, under the following conditions.)

This manual was made possible by the support of Swiss Re.

This manual will help reduce sources of earthquake-related damage and losses in hospitals as it considers medical equipment and supplies, contents, architectural elements, and building utility systems. Previous hazardous events depict that damage to any of the aforementioned items has caused deaths, injuries, loss of the building’s functionality, and contributed to the overall economic loss.

The manual contains the following information:

  • Determine your hospital’s earthquake risk
  • Identify items that could fall, slide or topple and injure people
  • Anchor and brace the items that might fall, slide or topple to reduce risk
  • Prioritize actions to reduce risk according to your hospital’s needs and budget
  • Other steps to take to make your hospital safer

Please watch this video to understand more about the need of this manual

You can also download the Disaster Safety Checklist for Hospital Administrators by clicking here & Hospital Safety Manual Flyer by clicking here.

Work with National Referral Hospital supported by WHO Bhutan and Ministry of Health, Bhutan

  • In between 2012-2013, we partnered with GeoHazards International (GHI) and worked with Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital of Bhutan located in Thimphu. We have evaluated the structural and non-structural elements as well as the overall disaster preparedness of JDWNRH. Documented the hospital’s seismic vulnerabilities. Recommended earthquake safety improvements: anchoring, improving critical back-up systems, and other mitigation measures to support post-earthquake medical care delivery. We also highlighted the need to formulate an emergency plan for the hospital and undertake the training of hospital staff. 
  • GHS also assisted GHI in conducting the Seismic Vulnerability Assessment of Trashiyangtse and Tashigang district hospitals.

Work with Ministry of Health, Nepal and WHO Nepal

  • In between 2011-2014, we assisted GHI and have worked with the Ministry of Health, Govt. of Nepal to assess three major hospitals in Nepal. The major activities included recommendation and prioritization both short-term and long-term changes to improve post-disaster functionality of three hospitals that provide critical medical services for a large number of people in Kathmandu: Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital, National Academy of Medical Sciences (Bir Hospital), and Kanti Children’s Hospital
  • We conducted an initial seismic evaluation. Identified non-structural elements and contents that threaten each hospital’s ability to function post-earthquake. Assessed vulnerabilities in areas that deliver care, on-site utilities, specialized medical equipment, and architectural shell.

Work with GNRC, hospital, Guwahati

  • In 2015-2016, we worked with GNRC hospital, Sixmile and Dispur branch to conduct assessment and improvement of disaster readiness. We have sensitized all the staff members of the hospital and helped them develop a hospital disaster preparedness plan for emergencies. The plan was tested by conducting a tabletop exercise in the hospital along with the hospital administrators. GeoHazards Society also conducted Non-structural risk assessment for the entire hospital and a fire safety assessment, the findings of the assessment were shared in the form of a report with the hospital. 

GHS has been working in hospital safety in highly vulnerable areas of the country with various state governments. We have organized training programs on hospital safety for major hospitals including AIIMS, GTB hospital, etc. 

  • Organized one day workshop on ‘Keeping Hospitals Functional in Disasters’ with International resource persons in partnership with NIDM and GHI on 5th Sept 2014. A similar workshop was also conducted in Agartala in September 2014 in partnership with the Revenue Department, Govt. of Tripura. 
  • Hospital Safety Training to Hospital Administrators on Non-structural Safety (Guwahati, November 2010): Training was organized for Medical Superintendents from various Hospitals in Assam with coordination between the ASDMA and the Department of Health, Govt. of Assam. 
  • One day training program for the doctors and hospital administrators in Shimla organized by Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority.
  • Conducted a comprehensive hospital disaster preparedness program and tabletop exercise in Tripura Medical College and Agartala Medical College where all the hospital’s medical and non-medical staff was trained and the disaster Management plan evaluated with tabletop exercises.
  • Hospital Safety Training to Hospital Administrators on Non-structural Safety for Kanpur District (Kanpur, October 2010) In collaboration with Revenue Department and Department of Health, Govt. of UP.
  • Hospital Safety Workshop in Jammu in collaboration with Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir, NDMA, and AIIMS. 
  • GHS conducted a non-structural risk assessment of six major hospitals in Nepal in October 2014 in partnership with GHI and WHO Nepal. 
  • A compressive hospital safety workshop in Jammu Medical College in Jammu and Kashmir has been carried out to train the medical and non-medical staff members with the support of AIIMS, J&K Govt- and WHO in December 2009. 
  • A three days training program on Hospital Disaster Preparedness and Tabletop Exercise at ILS hospital Agartala, Tripura was carried out in March 2017. 
  • Conducted Hospital Disaster Safety Workshop IGMC Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, with support from WHO India in November 2012.
  • Coordinated Hospital Safety Training to Hospital Administrators on Non-structural Safety (Guwahati, November 2010): Training was organized for Medical Superintendents from various Hospitals in Assam with coordination between the ASDMA and the Department of Health, Govt of Assam. 
  • GHS has carried out a one and half-day hospital preparedness training and tabletop exercise for hospitals, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh (HP) on the 19th and 20th of November, 2018. The program was conducted by two resource persons from GHS with key medical personnel from various district hospitals of Himachal Pradesh. 
  • World Health Organisation, India office, and GeoHazards Society, New Delhi organized a series of workshops for Hospital Disaster Safety in five major hospitals across India in five high hazard-prone cities. The cities are Aizawl, Guwahati, Mumbai, Shimla, and Trivandrum. Each daylong workshop was conducted from 23rd November to 2nd December 2011.  
  • GHS was invited by the St. Stephens Hospital, Delhi to organize a special session on hospital disaster preparedness for the hospital staff. The program was a one day program and besides addressing hospital disaster preparedness the importance of social media and how it can help the hospital was also discussed in detail with the participants.

Working with Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (Hospitals):

  • Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) in collaboration with UNDP under the project Developing Resilient Cities through DRR and CCA has taken initiative to ensure disaster preparedness in hospitals and took technical support from GeoHazards Society for conducting training programs on Hospital Disaster Preparedness for four Hospitals including FRU Vashi, Apollo Hospital, and two General Hospital in Aeroli and Nerul respectively. 

 Working with Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla

  • GoI-UNDP-USAID Project on ‘Developing Resilient Cities through Risk Reduction in context of Disaster and Climate Change’, with Disaster Management Cell, Municipal Corporation Shimla, Himachal Pradesh has taken initiative to develop the Disaster Management Plan for the most important Hospital named Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. GHS has developed the disaster management plan for the hospital. 

Working with WHO SEARO

  • The WHO SEARO has initiated the development of a mobile phone as well as a web-based application called HSI+ for hospitals in Nepal in partnership with GeoHazards Society. The HSI+ App combines the rapid assessment of structural, non-structural, and emergency and disaster management of the hospital under the Hospital Safety Index along with the basic contents of a hospital Disaster Management Plan. The App will help the hospital administration understand the strength and weaknesses in their hospital (structural, non-structural, and emergency and disaster management) and also develop the basic hospital Disaster Management Plan. The HSI+ App enables hospitals making them safer at local, national, and regional levels in Nepal. 

Working with UNHABITAT and Govt. of Myanmar

  • GHS in collaboration with GHI conducted a detailed assessment of critical facilities in two major national hospitals in Yangon and Mandalay in Myanmar under a project organized by UNHABITAT.
  • A detailed report of the findings is shared with the Ministry of Health and UNHABITAT along with mitigation solutions for the identified hazards in the hospitals.
  • Besides the assessment, a small session was organized for the senior medical and administrative staff of the hospital where they were sensitized on the importance of assessment of these hazards and why they need to be mitigated at the earliest.

Hospital Safety Assessment of Burrows Memorial Christian Hospital, Silchar, Assam

  • GHS had partnered with Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) for disaster preparedness in their hospitals. One Preliminary Seismic Assessment of Structural & Non-Structural Components was done at Burrows Memorial Christian Hospital in Silchar, Assam. Please click here for the detailed report.