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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Caribbean Hospitals Getting Help for Hurricanes

Simple changes to make buildings, in this case hospitals, more efficient and resilient.  Nice win-win.

Caribbean Hospitals Getting Help for Hurricanes 

Because hospitals on Caribbean islands are often damaged by hurricanes and earthquakes just when they are needed by scores of newly injured patients, the Pan American Health Organization and the British government have begun a “Smart Hospitals” program that retrofits vulnerable hospitals.
The intent is to make them safer, more self-sustaining and more energy-efficient.
Work on two hospitals, one in St. Vincent and one in St. Kitts and Nevis, was finished last year, for $1.4 million. A second phase, targeting at least a dozen more — all on English-speaking islands — began in June. It was originally budgeted at $12 million, but the British prime minister, David Cameron, announced last week that he would commit $45 million more to the program; the intent is to spend roughly $500,000 a hospital.
The most important improvements include:
Fixing leaky roofs and bolting them down so winds cannot tear them off.
Reinforcing windows so they cannot be blown out.

Installing solar panels for electricity and hot water.

Installing backup power generators.
Air-conditioning at least part of the hospital.
Building new entrances with better drainage and ramps for gurneys and wheelchairs.
Replacing old light fixtures and air-conditioners with energy-efficient ones.
The hospitals usually also get new wiring and plumbing, fresh paint, new beds and other equipment.

After the first two were refurbished, the number of patients using them rose by 40 percent, said the health organization, which added that nearly seven of 10 hospitals in the Caribbean and Latin America were in places prone to hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding.

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