Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Building Resiliency Becomes a Priority for Organizations

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Building Resiliency Becomes a Priority for Organizations

Article excerpt

Making health care facilities and all buildings as resilient as possible against high-impact weather events has become a common cause for organizations ranging from the leading construction and design trade groups to the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

The catastrophic damage caused by hurricanes Sandy and Katrina and the wave of tornadoes that struck the central United States three years ago, among other events, has served as an impetus to make buildings as strong as possible.

With input from builders, engineers, urban planners, architects and others related to health care facility construction and operation, the AMS Policy Program recently issued a report that can help health care facilities to increase their resiliency during and after high-impact weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

According to the AMS report, the strategy to build resiliency involves a process that starts with understanding and managing a facility's risk, finding solutions to possible weaknesses and preparing for the continuity of health services even when disrupted.

"The strategy involves a risk-management approach of dealing with the risks one faces by understanding the high-impact weather threats, identifying the vulnerabilities for their facility and operations and then dealing with those vulnerabilities. So, one is figuring out the potential problems and two is figuring out the solutions," says Shalini Mohleji, senior policy fellow, AMS Policy Program, and director of the resiliency study and related workshop that generated the report.

The study offers three different approaches to making health care facilities more resilient: hardening structures, incremental adaptations and innovative practices. The best approach is determined by resources available to each facility.

For example, after its hospital in Joplin, Mo. …

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