!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c3573ca5e970b-500wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c3573ca5e970b-500wi|alt=Rebuilding_a_hospital_600|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Rebuilding_a_hospital_600|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c3573ca5e970b!One of the most powerful tornadoes ever recorded struck Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, and St. John’s Regional Medical Center took a direct hit. For about 45 seconds, winds of more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) per hour wreaked havoc in the building, obliterating ceilings, snapping water pipes, and blowing in hallway walls. Everything became a projectile, and wind hurled patients, still clinging to their beds, down hallways. When the tornado finally passed, St. John’s had been reduced to little more than a husk.
Yet the hospital vowed to rebuild, and ground was broken for a new $500 million permanent hospital in January 2012, scheduled to open in early 2015. What lessons from this experience will the new hospital incorporate? To find out, read “Rebuilding a Hospital” in the January/February issue of NFPA Journal.