Skip to main content Accessibility help

Modeling Evacuation of a Hospital without Electric Power

  • Eric D. Vugrin (a1), Stephen J. Verzi (a1), Patrick D. Finley (a1), Mark A. Turnquist (a2), Anne R. Griffin (a3), Karen A. Ricci (a3) and Tamar Wyte-Lake (a3)...


Hospital evacuations that occur during, or as a result of, infrastructure outages are complicated and demanding. Loss of infrastructure services can initiate a chain of events with corresponding management challenges. This report describes a modeling case study of the 2001 evacuation of the Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas (USA). The study uses a model designed to track such cascading events following loss of infrastructure services and to identify the staff, resources, and operational adaptations required to sustain patient care and/or conduct an evacuation. The model is based on the assumption that a hospital’s primary mission is to provide necessary medical care to all of its patients, even when critical infrastructure services to the hospital and surrounding areas are disrupted. Model logic evaluates the hospital’s ability to provide an adequate level of care for all of its patients throughout a period of disruption. If hospital resources are insufficient to provide such care, the model recommends an evacuation. Model features also provide information to support evacuation and resource allocation decisions for optimizing care over the entire population of patients. This report documents the application of the model to a scenario designed to resemble the 2001 evacuation of the Memorial Hermann Hospital, demonstrating the model’s ability to recreate the timeline of an actual evacuation. The model is also applied to scenarios demonstrating how its output can inform evacuation planning activities and timing.

Vugrin ED , Verzi SJ , Finley PD , Turnquist MA , Griffin AR , Ricci KA , Wyte-Lake T . Modeling Evacuation of a Hospital without Electric Power. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2015;30(3):1-9


Corresponding author

Correspondence: Eric D. Vugrin, PhD Sandia National Laboratories P.O. Box 5800 MS1138, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-1138 USA


Hide All
1. Cocanour, C, Allen, S, Mazabob, J, et al. Lessons learned from the evacuation of an urban teaching hospital. Arch Surg. 2002;137(10):1141-1145.
2. Nates, J. Combined external and internal hospital disaster: impact and response in a Houston trauma center intensive care unit. Crit Care Med. 2004;32(3):686-690.
3. Vugrin, E, Verzi, S, Finley, P, et al. Modeling hospitals’ adaptive capacity during infrastructure disruptions. J Healthc Eng. 2015;6(1):85-120.
4. Aghababian, R, Lewis, C, Gans, L, Curley, F. Disasters within hospitals. Ann Emerg Med. 1994;23(4):771-777.
5. Bernard, M, Mathews, P. Evacuation of a maternal-newborn area during Hurricane Katrina. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2008;33(4):213-223.
6. Downey, EL, Andress, K, Schultz, CH. Initial management of hospital evacuations caused by Hurricane Rita: a systematic investigation. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(3):257-263.
7. Dosa, D, Grossman, N, Wetle, T, Mor, V. To evacuate or not to evacuate: lessons learned from Louisiana nursing home administrators following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2007;8(3):142-149.
8. Gray, BH, Hebert, K. Hospitals in Hurricane Katrina: challenges facing custodial institutions in a disaster. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2007;18(2):283-298.
9. Ofri, D. The storm and aftermath. N Engl J Med. 2012:367(24):2265-2267.
10. Redlener, I, Reilly, MJ. Lessons from Sandy — preparing health systems for future disasters. N Engl J Med. 2012;367(24):2269-2271.
11. Zane, R, Biddinger, P, Hassol, A, Rich, T, Gerber, J, DeAngelis, J. Hospital evacuation decision guide. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US Department of Health and Human Services; Rockville, Maryland USA: 2010:1-55.
12. Talebi, K, Smith, J. Stochastic network evacuation models. Comput Oper Res. 1985;12(6):559-577.
13. Taaffe, K, Johnson, M, Steinmann, D. Improving hospital evacuation planning using simulation. Proc Winter Simul Conf. 2006:509-515.
14. Tayfur, E, Taaffe, K. Allocation of resources for hospital evacuations via simulation. Proc Winter Simul Conf. 2007:1148-1154.
15. Tayfur, E, Taaffe, K. Simulating hospital evacuation- the influence of traffic and evacuation time windows. J Simul. 2009;3:220-234.
16. Duanmu, J, Taaffe, K, Chowdhury, M. Minimizing patient transport times during mass population evacuations. Transp Res Rec. 2010;2196(1):150-158.
17. Golmohammadi, D, Shimshak, D. Estimation of the evacuation time in an emergency situation in hospitals. Computers and Industrial Engineering. 2011;61(4):1256-1267.
18. Childers, AK, Visagamurthy, G, Taaffe, K. Prioritizing patients for evacuation from a health-care facility. Transp Res Rec. 2009;2137(1):38-45.
19. Bish, D, Agca, E, Glick, R. Decision support for hospital evacuation and emergency response. Ann Oper Res. 2011:1-18.
20. Arboleda, CA, Abraham, DM, Richard, JPP, Lubitz, R. Impact of interdependencies between infrastructure systems in the operation of health care facilities during disaster events. Paper presented at: Joint International Conference on Computing and Decision Making in Civil and Building Engineering: June 14-16, 2006; Montreal, Canada.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed