Will Alhambra Hospital operate after an earthquake?

By Deborah Schoch, California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting

While reporting "Fault Lines," our new series on hospitals and earthquake safety, I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if a quake rocked Alhambra, where our offices are located.

Would the injured seek care at the small hospital up the street?  Would its doors stay open?

Last Sunday, the Pasadena Star-News and two affiliate daily newspapers started running our series, "Hospital Readiness on Shaky Ground," bolstered by a wealth of new reporting by their newsroom staffs.

Thanks to their intrepid research, I now know that Alhambra Hospital Medical Center has a low “1” state rating on non-structural readiness.  That means that its emergency power, lighting, or communications lack the safeguards to assure that patients can be evacuated safety.

If local hospitals can’t treat the injured after a quake, Los Angeles County has back-up plans.

I learned that 13 hospitals throughout the region have Disaster Resource Centers equipped with tent shelters, each capable of housing at least 40 patients for the first 48 hours after a disaster.

Los Angeles County also has two $3.5 million mobile medical systems, with two 53-foot tractor trailers and a portable field hospital, which together can treat 200 people, the newspapers reported.

The new reporting was spearheaded by Rebecca Kimitch, city editor at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, based in West Covina.

By the way, Alhambra Hospital is applying for an upgrade to a “2,” allowing a safe evacuation, and administrators want even better safeguards, the Star-News reported.  That’s heartening news for everyone who lives and works in Alhambra.

3 thoughts on “Will Alhambra Hospital operate after an earthquake?”

  1. Honestly, Alhambra Hospital is poorly operated. There is no accountability for their patients. I have had a horrible experience last year with a family member there. I hope that they have some audits and inspections about quality care, and improve their patient care.

  2. Alhambrans need to sign up for CERT (Citizen’s Emergency Response Team) training with the Alhambra Fire Dept. They will learn how to prevent injuries during an earthquake and also how to rescue/treat injured persons without getting injured themselves.

    Alhambra CERT is also starting the MYN (Map Your Neighborhood) project so neighbors can help neighbors more efficiently after an earthquake.

    Odds are, when the Big One hits, the firemen and police will have no time to help us for several days. Every neighborhood, apt. building, and senior citizen complex needs to have some idea of how they will turn off leaking gas lines, put out fires, check on neighbors, comfort the panicked, treat the injured – not to mention, transport the seriously injured to the hospital.

    1. I contacted the Alhambra CERT throughout the last 3 years to join, and never got a response…..

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