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Scenario‐based impact analysis of a power outage on healthcare facilities in Germany

Michael Hiete (Institute for Industrial Production, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany)
Mirjam Merz (Institute for Industrial Production, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany)
Frank Schultmann (Institute for Industrial Production, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany)

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1759-5908

Article publication date: 4 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Power outages which may be triggered, for example, by natural hazards and system failures are a common phenomenon, associated with large impacts on society including the healthcare sector. Minimising adverse impacts effectively requires an analysis of possible impacts and the identification of measures aiming at reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience.

Design/methodology/approach

To systematically identify impacts as well as preparation, mitigation and recovery (PMR) measures, a moderated workshop with participants representing different healthcare sub‐sectors in Germany was conducted and complemented by semi‐structured interviews and a thorough analysis of literature. Impacts were determined for three scenarios of power outage duration, <8, 8‐24 and >24 hours.

Findings

Whereas hospitals are in general well prepared with respect to shorter outages, due to obligatory emergency power in Germany, outpatient medical care, nursing homes (NH) and, in particular, home‐care nursing are early affected. Failure of these sub‐sectors puts additional strains on hospitals. If outages last more than one day and are associated with failure of other critical infrastructures (CIs), especially water supply, hospitals may be severely affected. Effective preparation and mitigation measures identified based on a facility‐specific impact analysis, as well as good cooperation between actors, may reduce impacts.

Originality/value

The largely case‐study‐based literature is complemented by a systematic and extensive analysis of direct and indirect impacts on the main healthcare sub‐sectors in Germany, followed by an identification of specific PMR measures. As a novelty outage duration is explicitly accounted for. Also, interdependencies between the healthcare sub‐sectors as well as dependencies on other CI are considered.

Keywords

Citation

Hiete, M., Merz, M. and Schultmann, F. (2011), "Scenario‐based impact analysis of a power outage on healthcare facilities in Germany", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 222-244. https://doi.org/10.1108/17595901111167105

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited