Winds Of Change

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High winds produced by hurricanes cause heavy damage and often hospitals are among the worst affected. Enforcing current building codes will help ensure that hospitals continue functioning when they are most needed.

Meeting Focuses on Building Codes and their Enforcement

A seminar called “Winds of Change” was held in Barbados 24-25 April 2003. The seminar focused on disaster mitigation issues, including the need to enforce building codes, the gaps in research that exist on these topics and the need for a regional approach to studying the effects of natural hazards. The aim of the seminar was to provide knowledge of hazards affecting hospital design and create a research agenda.

During the seminar, the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of enforcement of design and construction standards, especially in new hospitals, were discussed. A manual on the subject (prepared as part of a PAHO-ECHO project on hospital design in the Caribbean) was introduced. One of the main conclusions of the seminar was that scientists and practitioners (engineers) need a forum to improve communication and exchange information, as practitioners often are not familiar with assumptions made by scientists in their hazard mapping. Complete seminar proceedings can be found at http://disaster-info.net/carib/WindsofChange/.

Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

525 23rd Street, N.W. - Washington, D.C. 20037, U.S.A.
202.974.3399 - Fax 202.775.4578 - disaster@paho.org - www.paho.org/disasters