After a Natural Disaster: Challenges and Solutions for Hospitals

Often, getting through a natural disaster event is easier than dealing with the aftermath. This is especially true for healthcare centers, in which the biological contamination that can result from natural disasters will pose a health hazard to patients whose health is already compromised. In the Bay Area, mold remediation professionals recommend getting the process underway as quickly as possible. The longer water damage, mold, and other biological contaminates are allowed to remain, the worse the problem will get.

The Damage That Can Occur After a Natural Disaster: Challenges and Solutions for Hospitals

A natural disaster can cause many types of damage, most notably, water damage. Floodwaters are particularly hazardous because they contain disease-causing microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. If the healthcare facility is salvageable, the restoration experts may deal with damage to the following:

  • Building structures
  • Furniture, including hospital beds
  • Electrical system
  • Durable medical equipment and machines
  • Medical supplies
  • Electronics
  • Laundry area
  • Cafeteria/kitchen equipment

The Initial Restoration Process

Before beginning the initial restoration process, inspectors must confirm that the hospital is safe to enter. This inspection will involve checks of the electrical system and fire safety system. All mold remediation and biological containment professionals must use the proper safety equipment to protect themselves from exposure to microorganisms. Then, the restoration efforts will first focus on these areas:

  • Removal of remaining water and sewage
  • Restoration of the sewage system
  • Restoration of the water system
  • Ventilation of the work area

Additionally, the remediation professionals must identify the safest route to transport contaminated materials out of the hospital.

The Remediation Process

After a major natural disaster, it’s quite likely that much of the structure and the building’s contents will have to be removed and disposed of, rather than salvaged. Once the hospital opens, it will serve patients who may have compromised immune systems, asthma, and mold allergies. It’s too risky to attempt to clean porous materials that were contaminated by mold. Instead, all of these materials must be removed and replaced. All non-porous materials must be thoroughly sanitized, and all surfaces in patient care areas must be disinfected. Later, medical equipment experts may be called in to assess whether these items are salvageable.

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