Hospitals Upgrade Facilities To Withstand Tornadoes

  June 26, 2018

By Cathryn Jakicic

Tornadoes present an especially difficult challenge for facility managers involved in emergency preparedness for their facilities. While preparations often include drills on sheltering in place and information on staying safe, tornadoes move so quickly and strike with such tremendous force that managers, visitors and occupants often have little time to react and are at the mercy of powerful winds carrying debris.

One Missouri healthcare system with a hospital that was recently destroyed by a tornado is taking steps to avoid destruction and potential deaths. Mercyhealth has prioritized securing its new hospitals with storm-resistant materials and backup generators and has toughened safety requirements for construction at its hospitals since six people died at its facility in Joplin in May 2011, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The EF-5 tornado destroyed Joplin's St. John's Hospital, blowing out all the windows and hindering evacuation by knocking out lights and drywall. The tornado killed a total of 161 people.

Mercyhealth recently equipped the new wing at Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Festus with safety glass windows that can withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour. It also has installed reinforced stairwells, battery-powered lights and windowless areas where patients can gather before a tornado hits.

This Quick Read was submitted by Cathryn Jakicic, Healthcare Industries Editor, FacilitiesNet. For more about hospital campuses and other medical facilities, visit https://www.facilitiesnet.com/healthcarefacilities.


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