To learn about the quake risk of your local hospital:
State regulators do not provide an online posting of hospital buildings’ “collapsibility” ratings. California Watch journalist Christina Jewett compiled such a list in 2010.
A 2010 state report lists hospitals with high-risk buildings and ranks them by how likely they are to comply with the 2013 or 2015 deadlines for seismic repairs or replacement.
Another report lists hospitals that have asked state regulators to review high-risk buildings through a testing system called HAZUS. If a building is rated SPC-2, with a collapse score of 1.5% or below, it does not need to be remodeled or replaced until 2030. If it is rated SPC-1, or above 1.5%, it probably needs fixes by 2013 or 2015.
Starting in 2010, California hospitals with buildings at high risk of collapse must file public reports annually about their retrofit or rebuilding plans. Reports for each hospital can be found on this state website. Look by county name and hospital name in the section, “Counties with Acute Care Hospitals with SPC-1 buildings.”
State files about a hospital’s seismic safety are largely public because of the state Public Records Act. Most files are kept in Sacramento. To see and copy specific files, contact the legal office of the state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development by phone at (916) 326-3610, by fax at (916) 322-2561, by e-mail (LegaI.Office@oshpd.ca.gov), by mail or in person at 400 R St., Suite 320, Sacramento, CA 95811.
For more about California’s seismic safety laws for hospitals:
The laws and their history are listed on a state website.
A overview was provided at a March 2010 hearing by the state Senate Health Committee. It included testimony from a variety of interest groups.
The Legislature has repeatedly extended deadlines for hospital seismic safety work, most recently with SB 90, a bill supported by many hospitals and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last spring. State officials have written draft emergency regulations to enforce the law, which would extend deadlines for most hospitals for up to seven years. The law still is not final, and a date for a state Building Safety Commission hearing has not been set.
For more about earthquake risk in California:
The U.S. Geological Survey provides reports on major faults, including the San Andreas Fault. It is also offers reports on historical earthquakes such as the 1994 Northridge quake, the last major earthquake in the Los Angeles Basin.
A major USGS report, the 2008 ShakeOut Scenario, examined the potential impact of a hypothetical magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault.
The 2011 ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill will begin at 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, at locations throughout California.