Earthquake Preparedness Means Being Ready for Cascading Events, Too

November 7, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


During and after a major earthquake, the health and medical response and recovery needs of a community can be significant, as described in an October 2018 resource from the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR). Types of earthquakes vary across the United States. Some areas are prone to a main quake, followed by diminishing aftershocks. But in some areas, sequenced events—three or more main shocks in different locations—may occur, each with its own aftershocks. Earthquakes can cause damage and disruption to healthcare organizations and their communities in a variety of ways. Resulting effects are primary (e.g., direct damage to healthcare facilities), secondary (e.g., utility and communication outages, facility closures, loss of providers), and tertiary (e.g., insurance and financial loss, decline in population health). Earthquakes can also result from or cause other substantial disasters, called "cascading events."

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