Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Structural’ Category

Hurricane-proofing a Nantucket hospital


By Cynthia McCormick
The Cape Cod Times

See the source image

  • The 106,000-square-foot, 14-bed hospital is being built to hurricane design specifications established by Miami-Dade County
  • Will allow the hospital to withstand Hurricane Irma-strength winds of 185 mph, rather than 150 mph as specified by Massachusetts building codes
  • Massive 5-foot-by-5-foot concrete footings fortified by mesh
  • Andersen Stormwatch windows
  • A double-hulled exterior building shell will help the new hospital stand up to Category 5 winds
  • Analog and digital phone lines
  • Access to satellite phones
  • The new Nantucket Cottage Hospital won’t even have a basement.
  • The boiler room, currently located in the basement of the existing hospital, will be shackled to the flat roof of the new hospital, including two massive generators
  • Electrical transformer switches will be located on the second floor instead of the first
  • The fuel-pumping room is being built at grade level, but will have waterproof curbing like an inverted bathtub
  • The six-over-six Andersen windows have multiple fastenings and have withstood objects hurled by hurricane-force winds in ballistic tests
  • The shell of the building is constructed almost like two walls, with a water and vapor barrier between the inner and outer skin
  • will have a larger capacity to go days without supplies
  • will have enough food for seven to 10 days and generator fuel for many days
  • will have 27,000 gallons of fuel on-site for the dual-purpose generators, more than three times the current capacity of 8,000 gallons of oil and propane
  • The final cost is estimated to run about $120 million





8/14/2003: A major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada.

Bridge Collapses In Genoa, Italy Killing At Least 10

Vigo, Spain: Hundreds of people were injured when a pier collapsed during an oceanside music festival



Dam collapse in Laos: Several dead and hundreds missing

Steam Pipe Explosion in NYC

6/29/1995: The Sampoong department store in Seoul, South Korea collapses, killing more than 500 people.



San Francisco: Experts consider these buildings vulnerable to collapse only in extreme shaking caused by rare and powerful earthquakes, similar to the one that struck San Francisco in 1906.

NY Times

USGS document:  HayWired

San Francisco Region at Night


The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—Engineering Implications is the second volume of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5013, which describes the HayWired scenario, developed by USGS and its partners. The scenario is a hypothetical yet scientifically realistic earthquake sequence that is being used to better understand hazards for the San Francisco Bay region during and after a magnitude-7 earthquake (mainshock) on the Hayward Fault and its aftershocks.

Analyses in this volume suggest that (1) 800 deaths and 16,000 nonfatal injuries result from shaking alone, plus property and direct business interruption losses of more than $82 billion from shaking, liquefaction, and landslides; (2) the building code is designed to protect lives, but even if all buildings in the region complied with current building codes, 0.4 percent could collapse, 5 percent could be unsafe to occupy, and 19 percent could have restricted use; (3) people expect, prefer, and would be willing to pay for greater resilience of buildings; (4) more than 22,000 people could require extrication from stalled elevators, and more than 2,400 people could require rescue from collapsed buildings; (5) the average east-bay resident could lose water service for 6 weeks, some for as long as 6 months; (6) older steel-frame high-rise office buildings and new reinforced-concrete residential buildings in downtown San Francisco and Oakland could be unusable for as long as 10 months; (7) about 450 large fires could result in a loss of residential and commercial building floor area equivalent to more than 52,000 single-family homes and cause property (building and content) losses approaching $30 billion; and (8) combining earthquake early warning (ShakeAlert) with “drop, cover, and hold on” actions could prevent as many as 1,500 nonfatal injuries out of 18,000 total estimated nonfatal injuries from shaking and liquefaction hazards.

Suggested Citation

Detweiler, S.T., and Wein, A.M., eds., 2018, The HayWired earthquake scenario—Engineering implications: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5013–I–Q, 429 p.,

“……Engineers have known about a major defect in certain steel-frame buildings since 1994, when shaking from the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles fractured critical joints in more than 60 buildings, bringing at least one very close to collapse. The building code was rewritten to eliminate the flawed technique.….”

1. Hartford Building, 650 California

2. Beal Bank Building, 180 Sansome

3. Bechtel Building, 50 Beale

4. 44 Montgomery

5. 425 California Street

6. 555 California Street

7. McKesson Plaza, One Post

8. Pacific Gas & Electric Building, 77 Beale

9. One Embarcadero Center, 355 Clay

10. Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery

11. 100 Pine Center, 100 Pine

A landslide has comprised the integrity of Lake Tahoma Dam (North Carolina). MANDATORY EVACUATIONS underway



Kenya: The Patel dam bursts after heavy rain, killing at least 27 and rendering 200 homeless.



Recent Posts