Societal Factors Involved on Risk Mitigation Policy: Challenges to Seismic Retrofitting of Hospital Buildings

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Disaster Research Center
This paper discusses the recurrent problems that emerge in the seismic risk mitigation policy process. It offers a definition of risk mitigation, and examines its application to earthquake threat, particularly the challenges to mitigation adoption and implementation processes. California experience with the application of legislation (SB1953) mandating seismic structural and non-structural retrofitting of hospital facilities illustrates these problems and also shows how stakeholders, who are supposed to act in accordance with the law, have adjusted to the new regulatory environment. This case is illustrative of how well-intended rules may fail in their applicability because of a failure in anticipating undesirable and unintended outcomes. It brings attention to the embeddedness of mitigation efforts on institutional processes, and the importance of taking into account the specificities of target-areas and organizations when investing on seismic safety rehabilitation and retrofitting.
Mitigation, Hospitals, Law/Legislation