Seismic Compliance Unit

Earthquake Emergency Response Plan

The OSHPD Emergency Response Plan will be activated by the OSHPD Director or other authorized staff in concert with Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) and Office of Emergency Services (OES) when a significant earthquake occurs which affects a major metropolitan area. In such an event, OSHPD is mandated to respond as follows:

  • Provide emergency structural, critical nonstructural and fire and life safety assessment of Acute Care Hospitals and Skilled Nursing Facilities.
  • Ensure rapid inspection postings of Facilities in a disaster area.
  • Provide information on OSHPD's emergency assessment status of Facilities to the EMSA, the OES and others as necessary.
  • Arrange priority review, approval and permitting of hospital repair and reconstruction of those affected facilities for a limited time period following an earthquake. Upon activation, OSHPD′s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be set up in Sacramento in accordance with the Standardized Emergency Management System to manage and coordinate the OSHPD emergency response. A Forward Staging Area may be established. Priorities for inspection will be established by OSHPD in cooperation with EMSA, OES and facilities. Direct requests for safety assessment of structures can be transferred to the EOC through the main Facilities Development number, (916) 654-3362.

The OSHPD Emergency Response Plan is based on the following emergency response policies:

  • OSHPD will provide emergency assessment of Health Care Facilities (HCF′s) to determine structural safety.
  • Because HCF resources are needed after an earthquake, these facilities will be closed, in whole or in part, only as a last resort and only if a threat to life safety exists. OSHPD′s intent is to keep these facilities open, but open safely. Consideration will be given to potential damage in after shocks.
    • OSHPD is tasked in the California State Emergency Plan to provide assistance in two emergency response areas; the Medical and Health Services Function and the Construction and Engineering Function. OSHPD′s priority will be to assist EMSA with implementation of the Medical and Health Function response. Assistance to the Construction and Engineering Function will be secondary and provided only if personnel and resources are available.
    • OSHPD will identify only hazards related to structural, critical nonstructural or fire and life safety building damage. Other inspections such as licensing and health may result in closure of a hospital regardless of OSHPD's assessment.
    • OSHPD personnel will conduct initial damage assessments. If necessary, OSHPD will request mutual aid through EMSA or OES to obtain additional technical assistance.
    • Severely damaged HCF′s may be posted and evacuated before OSHPD officials arrive. This action could be taken by local response officials, local structural engineers or HCF officials. OSHPD will encourage local officials and HCF facilities personnel to use the ATC-20-2 methodology for immediate on-site assessments. OSHPD response teams will re-inspect HCF's which have been posted by others.
    • OSHPD damage inspection reports are not intended for use by the County, the hospital or other parties for the purpose of obtaining disaster relief funds from the State or Federal government.
    • OSHPD will not participate in emergency repair decisions by HCF officials. For a specified and limited time period following an earthquake, unobserved repair of HCF′s will be allowed by OSHPD. (The time period will be determined by the severity of the earthquake and dictated by the length of the emergency period.) OSHPD response teams will not interfere with local efforts to keep a HCF open and providing service to the community as long as there is no threat to life safety at the site. It is OSHPD′s intent to allow HCF′s to provide services to the public as best they can under emergency conditions without interference.
    • Review, approval and permitting of HCF′s repair and reconstruction projects will be given priority by OSHPD for a specified and limited time period following an earthquake.

For questions or comments related to the Earthquake Emergency Response Plan, please eMail the Seismic Compliance Unit.


This page was last updated on Monday, March 6, 2017.