Essential facilities are those buildings whose functions are required for the welfare of the public after an earthquake. They include hospitals, communication centers, police and fire stations. A considerable amount of attention has been paid to these facilities to assure that they are structurally competent. Very little significance has been placed on the nonstructural equipment necessary for them to continue operation after an earthquake. This paper describes the operational system and seismic category approach that can be used by the design team to assess the relative worth with respect to overall facility operation of the nonstructural equipment. The various methods of seismic qualification such as shake table testing, complex analysis, simple analysis and engineering judgment are also discussed for nonstructural equipment.