Evacuation and sheltering of hospitals in emergencies: a review of international experience

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2009 Sep-Oct;24(5):461-7. doi: 10.1017/s1049023x00007329.


Objective: A scoping exercise to establish how common hospital evacuations are, identify hospital evacuation policies and review case studies to identify triggers, processes and challenges involved in the evacuation of hospitals globally.

Design: A systematic search of PubMed and disaster agency online resources, search of grey literature and media reports.

Results: This study showed that hospitals are vulnerable to both natural and man made disasters and that hospital evacuations do occur globally. It highlighted the paucity of published data and policy on hospital evacuation and emphasised the vital need to collect data on triggers, reasons for evacuation, sheltering facilities and the process of evacuation.

Conclusions: This study recommends the collection of case studies and the development of a database to assist with the research and development of well tailored hospital evacuation plans. These recommendations reflect and support the 2008-2009 World Disaster Reduction Campaign on Hospitals Safe from Disasters and the timely 2009 Global Platform priority that, Critical services and infrastructure such as health facilities and schools must be safe from disasters.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration*
  • Disasters*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Relief Work / organization & administration*
  • Safety
  • United Kingdom
  • World Health Organization