Claim: ‘health facilities are too vulnerable to weather and climate events’

From the American Meteorological Society

A risk management framework improves health systems’ resilience to high-impact weather

WASHINGTON — April 29, 2014 – According to a new study by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program, a risk management framework can improve the resilience of healthcare facilities and services to high-impact weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes. The report is based on a recent AMS Policy Program workshop, A Prescription for the 21st Century: Improving Resilience to High-Impact Weather for Healthcare Facilities and Services, held in Washington, DC in October 2013.

The purpose of the study was to explore methods for improving the resilience of the health system. The report outlines a process for reducing the structural and operational risks that healthcare facilities often face. The study presents a systematic strategy for improving resilience through a three-step process that first seeks to understand risks, then addresses the vulnerabilities of health facilities, and finally prepares for the continuity of health services in the event of disruptions.

The AMS Policy Program workshop included many diverse and engaged parties. The insurance sector and healthcare accreditors represented the stakeholders who assess risk. Those who plan and construct hospitals were represented by land developers, building engineers, and urban designers. Discussions on the continuity of healthcare services addressed pharmaceutical supplies, health IT, and clinical services.

“Two of our key findings involve new concepts,” Shalini Mohleji, Policy Fellow at the AMS Policy Program and director of the study, said. “First, resilience can be increased through successful risk management, and second, redundant systems promote efficacy, not inefficiency.”

Healthcare facilities and services provide a key foundation for a thriving community. Therefore, ensuring their resilience to high-impact weather is critical. High-impact weather events present a challenge in that they disrupt health facilities and services and decrease the ability to provide healthcare at a time when a community’s needs increase due to injuries and illness associated with the event. As more communities will emerge in areas vulnerable to high-impact weather, the need will grow for resilient healthcare facilities and services.

“Our health facilities are too vulnerable to weather and climate events. We need to protect them more effectively and a comprehensive framework to assess and manage risk can help do that.” said Paul Higgins, Director of the AMS Policy Program.

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The full report is available at the AMS Policy Program website at http://www.ametsoc.org/hfs.

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35 Responses to Claim: ‘health facilities are too vulnerable to weather and climate events’

  1. HGW xx/7 says:

    “…can improve the resilience of healthcare facilities and services to high-impact weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes.”

    Good to see the Lew Principal in usage: the complete dearth of these events is the exact reason why we need the build facilities in expectation of them occurring. Brilliant!

    This HAS to be a nightmare we’re living in.

  2. Jimbo says:

    Claim: ‘health facilities are too vulnerable to weather and climate events’

    What is a climate event?

    I have been told numerous times that the weather is not the same as the climate. I agree.

  3. Robert W Turner says:

    I can’t think of a better example of a weather disaster impacting a hospital than the Joplin tornado; I think six people died within the hospital during the tornado. Things could definitely be improved but how much more are we willing to pay for health care to slightly improve their resiliency?

  4. Jaakko Kateenkorva says:

    All nice and dandy, but how about the potential patients?
    https://scottthong.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/weightoftheworld-x.gif

  5. markstoval says:

    Well for goodness sake, tell those healthcare facilities to get a darned heater and install some A/C! What is wrong with them?

    /sarc

  6. Billy Liar says:

    I think they’ve seen where the money is and they’re looking for a share. Casting around for the sequel to the inevitable global warming grant crunch.

    /cynicism

  7. Rob Dawg says:

    Climate events occur over time frames far too long to be a consideration for health care facilities investment decisions.

  8. vboring says:

    The solution can be stated in one word:

    Co-generation

    Weather causes electrical outages. Hospitals use unreliable back-up generators. Universities use co-generation for electricity and heating. After every major weather event, the Universities have electricity, the hospitals do not. The explanation is simple: co-generation facilities are operated and maintained daily, so they work. Back-up generators are maintained occasionally and more often than not are non-functional when needed, either because the maintenance was ineffective or the load grew and nobody bothered to replace the generator.

    Replace the back-up generators with co-generation facilities (ideally with diesel fuel storage on site, so you don’t have to rely on the natural gas system maintaining pressure if you’re located somewhere cold) and the problem is solved.

  9. Latitude says:

    haven’t they heard?..
    ….we spent all of our infrastructure money on windmills, solar panels, golf, and vacations

  10. Bryan A says:

    Reseliency for Health Care Facilities could be quite easily managed by simply building them Down instead of Up. Much needed Day Light could be easily piped in via Fibre Optics and utilized to provide the Healing Effects of direct sunlight exposure over every patient bed.

  11. Neil says:

    HGW xx/7 says:

    Good to see the Lew Principal in usage: the complete dearth of these events is the exact reason why we need the build facilities in expectation of them occurring. Brilliant!

    This HAS to be a nightmare we’re living in.

    Explains in one sentence the TSA…

  12. Don Gleason says:

    Not to worry…Obamacare will wipe ‘em out anyway

  13. Richard M says:

    There are more than weather events to be worried about. Earthquakes, tsunamis, pandemics, asteroid strikes, alien invasions, satellite laser based weapons, mutant zombies, etc. ;)

    I’m sure others can come up with many more.

  14. johanna says:

    ““Two of our key findings involve new concepts,” Shalini Mohleji, Policy Fellow at the AMS Policy Program and director of the study, said. “First, resilience can be increased through successful risk management, and second, redundant systems promote efficacy, not inefficiency.”
    ———————————————————-
    “New concepts?” What rock have these people been living under?

    Anyone who has managed mission critical IT systems has been aware of these concepts, and has used them, for decades. Indeed, if hospitals’ own IT systems are not already using them, they are potentially criminally negligent and certainly utterly incompetent. And, don’t most hospitals have power generation backup systems?

    What a load of tosh. How much did this junket for healthcare administrators and hangers-on cost, and who paid for it?

  15. TimO says:

    Down here in Florida, the hospitals and schools are hardened against hurricanes. You WANT to be in them here…

  16. Andrew N says:

    “Our health facilities are too vulnerable to weather and climate events.”

    I understand what a weather event is. Could someone please explain to me what a ‘climate event’ is.

  17. “What isn’t widely know is that tornado proof buildings exist, scattered here and there around the country, which use off the shelf, proven technology.” RB, author of ‘Tornado!, Only one house will survive.’

  18. I assume they were thinking of the generators in the basement of New York hospitals that were useless after Sandy hit. Hopefully all generators that could be affected by too much water are way higher now.

  19. pat says:

    Billy Liar says –

    “I think they’ve seen where the money is and they’re looking for a share.”

    well, this is one place to look. the latest & greatest in the MSM today:

    28 April: European Commission: Press Rlease: From sunlight to jet fuel: EU project makes first “solar” kerosene
    European Commission – IP/14/481 28/04/2014
    An EU-funded research project called SOLAR-JET has produced the world’s first “solar” jet fuel from water and carbon dioxide (CO2). Researchers have for the first time successfully demonstrated the entire production chain for renewable kerosene, using concentrated light as a high-temperature energy source. The project is still at the experimental stage, with a glassful of jet fuel produced in laboratory conditions, using simulated sunlight…
    The four-year SOLAR-JET project was launched in June 2011 and is receiving €2.2 million of EU funding from the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7)…
    Finding new, sustainable sources of energy will remain a priority under Horizon 2020, the seven-year EU research and innovation programme launched on Jan. 1, 2014. In the call Competitive Low-Carbon Energy published on December 11 last year, the Commission proposed investing €732 million over two years in this area…
    Project press contact
    Dr. Andreas Sizmann
    Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V.
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-481_en.htm?locale=en

    Solar-Jet – Partners
    The partners combine their special expertise in solar energy conversion (ETH), fuel synthesis and fuel economics (SHELL), fuel combustion and high-temperature chemistry (DLR), future technology assessment, future socio-economic development analysis (BHL) and project management (ART).
    http://www.solar-jet.aero/page/partners.php

  20. tango says:

    They all should watch these videos in fact all school children http://iceagenow.info/2014/04/climate-catastrophe-cancelled-videos/

  21. pat says:

    re Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V who put out the Solar-Jet Press Release:

    LINKEDIN: Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V.
    Bauhaus Luftfahrt is an interdisciplinary research institution funded by the four aerospace companies Airbus Group, Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft (IABG), Liebherr-Aerospace and MTU Aero Engines as well as grants of the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology. The non-profit association is an internationally-oriented think tank…
    In every project, the technical, economic, social and ecological aspects are considered holistically.
    RECENT UPDATES:
    3 MONTH AGO:
    Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V.
    Bauhaus Luftfahrt`s “Ce-Liner” concept for a potentially emission-free short-range airliner has been nominated for a major environmental prize. At the GreenTec Award, Europe´s largest environmental and business prize, the Ce-Liner has been shortlisted among the ten best projects in the category “Aviation”. Out of all ten nominees, the winner will be chosen by a public online voting and an independent expert jury. The team of Bauhaus Luftfahrt would be grateful if the “Ce-Liner” concept receives your vote at http://lnkd.in/dhdzFD6.less
    http://www.linkedin.com/company/bauhaus-luftfahrt-e.v.

    29 April: Local Germany: Scientists make rocket fuel from sunlight
    Researchers hope to eventually use the renewable fuel to power different forms of transport and said on Tuesday they had succeeded in producing the world’s first jet fuel from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide…
    The centrepiece of the four-year project, known as SOLAR-JET, is a solar reactor that uses focused sunlight to heat up a metal oxide. Water and carbon monoxide are then passed into the reactor at 700C, where they spit up and form into a synthetic gas composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
    The gas is then compressed and sent to Shell, where it is converted into a hydrocarbon fuel similar to conventional kerosene…
    http://www.thelocal.de/20140429/german-scientists-make-rocket-fuel-from-sunlight

  22. george e. conant says:

    Climate Event: CO2 atmospheric feedback forcing’s including but not limited to: Errant jet streams at low , mid or high level altitudes, excessive snow in winter, excessive heat in summer, wetness due to rain, dryness due to lack of rain, trade winds too fast or too slow, tide gages improperly reporting lack of sea rise, global warming/cooling, CO2 atmospheric doubling’s causing earthquakes and volcanoes, extreme normality of moth populations in remote regions ( be very afraid of that as it masks the possible CO2 trauma said moth’s are surely suffering) , CAGW Heat trapped in the deep oceans, El Nino any time, polar bears eating seals on Tuesdays, excessive popcorn sales due to the need for refilling the Mann O Man O Meters ……
    sarc/

  23. Taphonomic says:

    “Our health facilities are too vulnerable to weather and climate events. We need to protect them more effectively and a comprehensive framework to assess and manage risk can help do that.” said Paul Higgins.

    Someone should tell Mr. Higgins to go back and re-read the report. It makes no mention of “climate events”, whatever they are.

  24. Pat Frank says:

    The subtext of the AMS “risk management framework” is that AGW will increase future extreme weather. Hence the AMS interest. The basic motivation for the policy planning and the meeting is not about saving hospitals or people. It’s about providing social credibility to the AGW idea: AGW *must* be real — after all look at all the important people and organizations planning for it.

    Most of the participants are sincerely worried. But they’re worried in the same sense that a millennialist is worried about armoring his house and car, and laying in ammo and supplies. Once one buys the basic assumption of impending apocalypse, the rest of the thinking is logical, consistent, and bogus. AGW is secular millennialism, no more, no less. It’s bogus all the way down.

  25. davidmhoffer says:

    I’m not sure what all the fussing and wailing is about. Skeptics have in general been of the opinion that adaptation makes a ton more sense than mitigation, and here is a report proposing adaptation. Embrace it. The worst that can happen is we wind up with an emergency infrastructure that is over built at some cost rather than under built. Frankly, when it comes to disaster recovery planning, over built should be your guiding principle. Not to mention that much of the emergency infrastructure is not only under built, it is built WRONG with, as Werner mentioned above, emergency generators in basements that flooded during Sandy as an example. This kind of review will expose issues like that, and frankly, severe weather is going to happen from time to time, warming or no warming, so preparing for it makes a lot more sense than continuing on with emergency generators in basements.

  26. Will Nelson says:

    george e. conant says:
    April 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm
    *******************************
    Scroll down a little and check out the “impact” for Los Angeles (don’t bother reading any more than your have too, it’ll make your brain bleed). It is really bad in a worse than we thought kind of way… well I’ll just let you see it for yourself. And don’t miss (like how could you) the irony of the adjacent picture of the San Gabriel reservoir.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/04/el_nino_2014_2015_what_the_weather_pattern_means_for_60_plus_places.html

  27. george e. conant says:

    @Will Nelson, Sir, The unadjusted data sets and historical records for western north America show cycles of drought and non drought conditions. The South West quadrant of USA lower 48 includes arid and semi arid regions, Southern California I understand is classified as desert. Thus the real issue is locating millions upon millions of people in thirsty cities in a region that is , well, dry. The 1950’s saw droughts, the 1960’s saw droughts, and the weather pattern of dry west and friggin freezing cold east and Midwest is historically repeated. I have been to L.A. and when seeing the vista from a jet liner I was astonished at the sheer size of the megalopolis there, they build out in to fragile expanses of desert , everyday, why? Because it doesn’t rain in So Cal. I am may not be a scientist, you could even call me a tree hugger, be that as it may, I am interested in TRUTH and sadly my own research finds TRUTH lacking when it comes to AGW Climate Change Science. WUWT is just one of several brilliant skeptic web sites exposing untruth and I for one am grateful the level of scrutiny shining on the CAGW sham/scam/alarmist agenda …..

  28. Caleb says:

    Don Gleason says:
    April 29, 2014 at 2:31 pm
    “Not to worry…Obamacare will wipe ‘em out anyway”

    It is not merely Obamacare and not merely hospitals; it is a governing class of ungoverned hypocrisy dirtying all of mankind. They preach generosity while all they do is based on greed, and ask others to love while all they do displays thinly-veiled antipathy towards the common man.

    If one was to do an honest feasibility study of the ideas deemed “progressive” by the governing class, I am fairly certain one would ascertain the ideas have never worked, don’t work, and will never work. In essence we are witnessing a time when lunatics are attempting to rule the world and make it an asylum.

    I’d be tempted to agree with Neil and say we are living midst a nightmare, but a single candle can defeat a room full of darkness, and a thousand points of light can do a thousand times more.

  29. Gary Pearse says:

    The costs of environmental hysteria are going to be large and in so many diverse areas we don’t usually think about. We know about useless Thames gates and other costly results of climate puffery, but engineering associations are now talking about codes for major construction projects to take CAGW into consideration. Oh well, I guess there might be some utility for a bridge to last several centuries.

  30. hunter says:

    Climate is not weather, and “climate event” is just a circular made up definition to help market climate hysteria.

  31. zonga100 says:

    It would be a good move to park school buses on high ground… and use them. Wait, was that in the report or?

  32. Bryan A says:

    Climate Event = 350.ORG protest where the 100 protesters get paper cuts and mussel strains from carrying those empty boxes of nonexistent e-mails and flood the ER

  33. Patrick says:

    “The AMS Policy Program workshop included many diverse and engaged parties. The insurance sector and healthcare accreditors represented the stakeholders who assess risk.”

    The insurance sector is lining itself with the expectation of significant increases in revenue from carbon fees on insurance policies and then not paying out because “weather events are acts of God”!

  34. Goldie says:

    So a hospital built today will last – say 40 to 50 years. What exactly do they think is going to happen in that time? Any money spent on protecting new buildings from weather conditions that do not currently exist is a total waste of money.

    Of course if you are a politician and you decided to nickel and dime your projects by not building to meet current meteorological conditions then you probably are glad of the excuse of climate change when something bad happens!

  35. Lewis P Buckingham says:

    vboring says:
    April 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm Goldie says:
    April 30, 2014 at 1:58 am
    One of my children was hospitalised for nine months, it was amazing how much power this place used during the heat waves.
    It is slated to be the next hospital to be rebuilt in the West of Sydney ,Australia.
    The air conditioning has already become obsolescent and MRSA infection control is problematical. A local ‘back up grid’ may be an answer to power outages.
    As a previous commentator pointed out it was a place of refuge in adverse weather.

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