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close this bookDisaster Mitigation for Health Facilities: Guidelines for Vulnerability Appraisal and Reduction in the Caribbean (PAHO-OPS, 2000, 66 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the document1. What is Mitigation?
View the document2. Role of Health Staff
View the document3. Using the Guide
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes
View the documentBibliography
View the documentBack Cover


This booklet, written primarily for the Caribbean, is based on the “Guide to Making Your Home Hurricane Resistant” published by the United Insurance Company Limited of Barbados, although its scope is wider than hurricanes in recognition of the threat of other natural hazards that exist in the Caribbean. It is fortunate that the technical author of the United Insurance Guide, Mr. Tony Gibbs, made available to PAHO his special expertise in this field and is responsible for the technical aspects of this guide.

The underlying principle of both the Insurance Guide and this one is that we all have a responsibility to protect our homes and our families and in the case of those who work in the health field our patients, visitors and staff from the dangers of natural hazards. This Guide seeks to help to do that not in the expectation that its use will create a group of technical experts, but rather, by making the technical expertise available in a form that can be used by the non-technical person.

The checklists reproduced in the Annex were first used in health facilities as part of a Workshop held in the British Virgin Islands in July 1998. The comments and suggestions of those participants have been incorporated in this final version and have undoubtedly contributed to its value.

Although the structure was undamaged, the widespread loss of roof sheets in a hurricane meant that the hospital was effectively unuseable. (Photo Tony Gibbs)

The Guide is being published at the end of the decade that was designated by the United Nations as the “International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction”. This timing therefore recognizes the need to persevere with the initiatives begun in the years up to 1999, in order to continue to ensure the safety of members of the community and the staff themselves in the event of natural hazards.

To reduce the losses and dangers from spilt chemicals and drugs, shelves and cupboards should be designed with adequate restraints. (Photo PAHO)

Plaster ceilings should be checked for vulnerability to falling in earthquakes. (Photo PAHO)