Architects Respond to Disasters

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – The AIA and AIA Maryland are closely monitoring Hurricane Florence and preparations for post-disaster assistance.

AIA Maryland has been meeting with officials from Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and introducing them to the Safety-Assessment Program (SAP) training our members have been taking. As of today, we have over 40 individuals with a current certification and MEMA officials know we stand ready to assist with rapid building assessments if needed. We are not yet set up for EMAC – Emergency Management Assistance Compact which is a mutual aid agreement among the states and US territories to share resources during disasters – so we will not be going outside Maryland for this storm.

AIA Maryland is hosting another SAP training on December 1st in Cambridge, MD (6.5 CEUs) – more info to come on this. You can also email Sandi Worthman to be placed on our list of members interested in this training.

In addition to this effort, AIA Maryland is now a member of Maryland VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). This group includes representatives from National VOAD, MEMA, FEMA, several Maryland state agencies and, over two dozen volunteer organizations. Through VOAD, our members – you do not need to be SAP trained to volunteer – can volunteer to assist with clean up and rebuilding efforts if needed. Opportunities will be announced as soon as we receive them.

Yesterday, Maryland VOAD hosted a conference call on the current status of preparations in advance of Hurricane Florence. Shelters have been identified and will be announced to the public if and when they are needed; equipment is already being staged. FEMA announced it is setting up a VALOR (Voluntary Agencies Leading and Organizing Repair) program they established in Puerto Rico where voluntary organizations will lead and organize repairs with supplies provided by FEMA. More information on this effort will be announced as soon as we receive it. Firms might also consider registering with Crisis Cleanup – teams can select work orders from the system to assist with clean up and minor repairs that enable residents to return to their homes post-disaster. There is another Maryland VOAD call planned for Thursday afternoon and another update will be sent as needed.

The AIA Disaster Assistance Program is posting updates as conditions change and you can follow that information HERE.