Of all the important places inside a hospital, preparing for a wildfire starts on the roof.
Keeping a hospital safe from the growing threat of wildfires in Colorado begins with keeping the air clean. When the Marshall Fire tore through Boulder County, Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville survived, but had to close because of all the damage the smoke caused inside. Now, hospitals around the state are changing how they prepare for fires.
"This draws the air in from the outside and pushes it in through the entire hospital," said Mark Lendzion, a maintenance technician at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, as he pointed to an air handling system. "It comes from the outside as unfiltered outside air, and then we filter it condition it, heat it or cool it, and then humidify it."
On the roof of Penrose Hospital, Lendzion shows off the hospital’s new line of defense. When a wildfire starts nearby, the first thing he does now is make sure the smoke can’t get in the building.