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Hospital resilience to natural hazards: classification and performance of utilities

Nebil Achour (School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Masakatsu Miyajima (Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan)
Federica Pascale (School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Andrew D.F. Price (School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 28 January 2014

1251

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to: explore major and potential challenges facing healthcare facilities operation specifically those related to utility supplies; and quantify the impact of utility supplies interruption on the operation of healthcare facilities through the development of an estimation model.

Design/methodology/approach

A pluralistic qualitative and quantitative research approach benefiting from an online computer program that applies the discriminant function analysis approach. Information was collected from 66 hospitals following three major earthquakes that struck northeast Japan in 2003.

Findings

Analysis demonstrated that healthcare utilities face three major challenges: vulnerability of infrastructure to natural hazards; low performance of alternative sources; and lack of consideration of healthcare utility supplies in resilience codes and legislations. The study also proposed a method to estimate the impact of utility interruption of healthcare facilities. A model has been developed for the case study hospitals in Northern Japan following three major earthquakes in 2003.

Practical implications

The findings are expected to raise the awareness of the critical role utilities play for the operation of healthcare facilities which will potentially lead to upgrading resilience codes and legislations. The findings are also expected to pool the literature with more information about the resilience of healthcare utility publications.

Originality/value

The topic and issues discussed in this research are original based on authors’ investigations following three major earthquakes that took place in northeast Japan. The study followed a statistical approach in addressing the inter-relationship between the utility systems post disasters to develop an innovative unique index to predict the impact of utility shortage on healthcare.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to Professor Masaru Kitaura and Dr Akira Murata of Kanazawa University (Japan) and Professor Masaho Yoshida of Fukui National College of Technology (Japan) for their help in collecting the data for this paper, and to Professor Shigenobu Aoki of Gunma University for allowing us to use his online computer program. Special thanks are also to the staff of hospitals for their time spent to provide us with the data required for this study. Sincere acknowledgments are to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, UK) for funding this research work.

Citation

Achour, N., Miyajima, M., Pascale, F. and D.F. Price, A. (2014), "Hospital resilience to natural hazards: classification and performance of utilities", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 40-52. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-03-2013-0057

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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