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Protecting Infrastructure from Disaster to Be Focus of September MMC Webinar

Friday, September 11, 2015  
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In recent years, a number of disasters around the world have caused damage to critical functions in affected communities. Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina; tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma; and earthquakes in Christchurch (New Zealand), Bío-Bío (Chile) and Nepal all resulted in severe damage to local hospitals, putting great strain on the healthcare systems of the impacted regions. In its next webinar, “Disasters and Infrastructure,” to be held September 29 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm EDT, the National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC) will spotlight the importance of protecting such critical infrastructure.

The continued functionality of critical infrastructure, including healthcare facilities, is a necessity following any major disaster event. Healthcare delivery facilities are essential in disasters; they provide emergency medical care to individuals hurt during the event as well as regular health services required to maintain the health of the community in the weeks and months that follow. In order to provide adequate services to patients, healthcare facilities rely on a wide range of internal and external functions, each a part of a complex network of interacting systems. The loss of a single function can severely disrupt the ability to provide care during the critical first hours following an event.

In order to improve the resilience of such facilities, decision makers need a way to quantify how facilities will perform, both predictively and retrospectively, under the extreme loads associated with natural hazards. During this one-hour webinar, Judith Mitrani-Reiser, PhD, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Emergency Medicine, and Director of the Sensor Technology and Infrastructure Risk Mitigation (STIRM) Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, will demonstrate a risk analysis framework for quantifying and predicting the loss, recovery and resilience of critical facilities. The theoretical framework accounts for loss of service due to building and utility damage, as well as impacts to key personnel and resources/supplies needed to provide clinical and non-clinical services. The presentation will include a standardized methodology to collect and analyze field data of critical building systems to better correlate physical damage with loss of functionality of healthcare facilities, and conclude with a discussion of ongoing work focused on critical infrastructure-based societal systems (CIbSS).

Dr. Mitrani-Reiser’s research focuses on the performance assessment of critical infrastructure; safety and economic impact of hazards on the built environment; effective communication of these risks to the public; informed decision making for use in emergency management and policy making; and interaction of humans with the built environment. Her multidisciplinary research program includes collaborations within the university spanning the Whiting School of Engineering, the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as well as internationally with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), Society of Risk Analysis (SRA), Seismological Society of America (SSA) and World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), Mitrani-Reiser is secretary for the ASCE Subcommittee on Multi-Hazard Mitigation, and serves on the ASCE Committee on Disaster Resilience of Structures, Infrastructures and the EERI Learning From Earthquakes Committee.

Sign up now to attend the free “Disasters and Infrastructure” webinar on September 29. Space is limited. Only the first 125 participants will be admitted, so don’t wait. Register today!

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