Disaster Assistance

This Session is a “Disaster”!

A new webinar from the Academy of Architecture for Health that may be of interest to you and others active in your state disaster assistance program:

This Session is a “Disaster”
This webinar is sponsored by the Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) and provides 1 HSW credit.


The Facility Guidelines Institute, using a volunteer committee of over 120 professionals in practicing in health care, has developed a White Paper on Emergency Conditions in Health and Residential Care Facilities which includes recommended additional requirements to the 2022 series of Guidelines.  This session explores the key factors that influenced the new recommendations along with an overview of what new standards are being recommended for the new Guidelines on Emergency Conditions.

This effort addressed the need—permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary—to expand patient and resident capacity during pandemics and other manmade disasters and look at facility resiliency to withstand high winds, floods, wildfires, and other weather-related disasters. While many excellent solutions have been deployed over the years for resiliency and the past many months for COVID-19, thousands of hours have gone into coalescing lessons learned into a white paper and recommendations for a new Guidelines document that will support the treatment and care of patients, residents, visitors, and staff members during emergency conditions.  A risk assessment process and emergency condition zone maps have been added to the compliance formula of determining when elements of the recommendations need to be applied.


After participating in this webinar attendees will:

1. Describe how the new Guidelines for Emergency Conditions will influence future facility design to provide flexibility during a surge capacity event, whether man-made or weather related.
2. Apply the risk assessment and zone map concept to regions and areas of the United States to determine facility resiliency and surge capacity.
3. Explain the concepts behind and the physical attributes of alternate care sites critical to providing a satisfactory patient experience and outcome.
4. Use the Guidelines for Emergency Conditions in the project design and delivery period to creating facilities that serve their intended purpose during man-made and weather-related events.

Registration and more info: https://network.aia.org/events/event-description?CalendarEventKey=d6e62b92-636d-4ede-bbf1-3558f3f4440f&CommunityKey=5ac54771-1122-4d1f-ac18-d2d12d6a94fb&Home=%2fcommunities%2fcommunity-home

Please feel free to share this opportunity with others in your disaster assistance network

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Disaster Assistance Volunteer Opportunities

Want to get more involved in national-level disaster assistance? Here’s your chance!

Every year AIA appoints new members to a wide range of committees and the 2021 call for committee applications is now live! As someone interested in disaster assistance,  hazard mitigation, and building performance you may be most interested in applying to the following groups:

  • Disaster Assistance Committee: Established in 2006, members with pre- and post-disaster experience provide leadership and guidance on disaster preparedness and response as well as hazard mitigation and resilient disaster recovery. The ongoing work of the Disaster Assistance Committee includes advising on emergency disaster situations and equipping members and components with the tools and resources they need to lead their own local disaster assistance programs through advocacy, building safety assessment training, and developing volunteer and partner networks. Additionally, the committee provides guidance to mitigate building damage and recover more safely and quickly from disasters. Special focus in 2021 will include authorship of the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook 4th edition and COVID-19 re-occupancy resources, as well as development of building vulnerability assessment guidance. Members will meet virtually, typically on a monthly basis, be asked to complete 1-4 hours of volunteer efforts per month and attend one 2-day meeting in 2021.
  • Resilience and Adaptation Advisory Group: Members of the Resilience and Adaptation Advisory Group advise and produce guidance for the Institute’s 93,000 members with their expertise in resilience, climate adaptation, risk management, and the intersection of equity with climate change as it pertains to the practice of resilience in architecture. The group will provide guidance and implementation of AIA’s Climate Action Plan, specifically climate adaptation objectives. Projects will focus on AIA’s resilience education, policy and practice resources and will include mentoring the Resilience Network and developing a resilience practice toolkit and community resilience guidance. In your letter of interest, please describe how you’d like to contribute to these projects; highlighting demonstrated interest or experience such as how you or your firm are integrating the above aspects of resilience into your work. The advisors will coordinate with the AIA Disaster Assistance Committee and other AIA member groups as needed. Members will meet virtually, typically on a monthly basis, be asked to complete 1-4 hours of volunteer efforts per month and attend one 2-day meeting in 2021.
  • Re-imagining America: Strategies for Safer Buildings Task Force: In the wake of the pandemic, it is clear America’s buildings will need to be more resilient to future threats in order to keep America’s economy running. Today, many offices across downtown America lay vacant. Many will never return to previously known occupancy levels. What are the new opportunities for these spaces? During the immediate recovery, architects provided a host of strategies to mitigate the risk of transmission. What are the lessons learned from these strategies and what do they mean for the future of design? This cross-disciplinary task force will look ahead to the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on building design to determine the new paradigm in best practices for commercial/retail, multifamily housing, and other public spaces. Additionally, the task force will examine the adaptive reuse of spaces necessitated by changes in demand for facilities and how people share spaces. The task force will develop a series of reports and 3-D graphics detailing their findings by building type. Members will meet virtually once or twice a month and be asked to contribute approximately 2-4 hours of volunteer efforts per month.

Additional committees you may be interested in applying to include:

  • 2030 Working Group: The 2030 Commitment exists to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project-based, and data-driven. More than 750 companies have joined the program since 2010. The 2030 Commitment Working Group provides strategic direction for the program and may advise on tactical program implementation.
  • Building Performance Advisory Group: The goal of the Building Performance Knowledge Community (BPKC) is to promote architects as leaders in the application of technical design for building performance; in the use of high-performance design criteria, codes, and standards; and in programming, designing and managing building performance. To advance, disseminate, and advocate— to the architecture profession, AIA members, building owners, the construction industry, the academy, and the public—design practices that create buildings that are healthy, energy efficient, and durable. www.aia.org/buildingperformance
  • Codes and Standards Committee: First formed in the 1950s to work closely with the three regional model code organizations and participate in the development of each code, the AIA Codes and Standards (C&S) Committee has guided the AIA’s leading role in consolidating the three regional model code groups into the one we know today – the International Code Council (ICC). Architects’ leadership in the development of construction codes and standards and other regulations directly affects the success and prosperity of AIA members, the profession, and our communities. Today’s C&S Committee is a premier example of members leading the way at the AIA, embracing the call to be advocates, and providing a credible and reliable voice to the public policy process. Future committee members can also look forward to helping implement some of the recommendations of the AIA Blue Ribbon Panel on Codes report “Disruption, Evolution, and Change” (http://bit.ly/2Kp9c0u). If you have ever wondered how the codes and standards architects use every day are made and used, this is your opportunity to help shape them all across the country
  • Committee on the Environment Advisory Group: The Committee on the Environment (COTE) works to advance, disseminate, and advocate—to the profession, the building industry, the academy, and the public—design practices that integrate built and natural systems and enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment.
  • Historic Resources Committee Advisory Group: The mission of the Historic Resources Committee (HRC) Knowledge Community is to identify, understand, and preserve architectural heritage, both nationally and internationally.

For more info and to apply, visit the AIA National Committee application site. Applications are due 11/6.

Please feel free to share this message with others that may be interested. 

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Architects formally acknowledged in the FEMA Natl Incident Mgmt System

Released September 9, 2020, AIA Disaster Assistance Committee member, Rose Grant, AIA; FEMA Project Technical Committee member, shared this good news. What follows is a very brief overview, you can read the entire special advisory here.

While there is still some work to be done, now that architects are recognized and officially defined by NIMS, their assistance can be requested anywhere in the country (including U.S. territories) through EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact).

AIA’s Disaster Assistance program previously recognized the ICS courses as recommended but not will require them. Credentialing is essential in validating the identity and attributes (e.g., affiliations, skills, or privileges) of emergency personnel. Architects who have already taken SAP training, are encouraged to complete the following ICS courses free online:

  • IS-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System (2 hrs.)
  • IS-200: ICS for Single Resources and initial Action Incidents (4 hrs.)
  • IS-700: National Incident Management System, an introduction (3.5 hrs.)
  • IS-800: National Response Framework, an introduction (3 hrs.)

AIA’s efforts from proposing legislation, to helping write new NIMS resource type definitions, to working to produce the Post-disaster Building Safety Evaluation Guide (P2055) are unlocking opportunities for architects to volunteer to assist our communities. These efforts advance the AIA’s mission and goals to provide a method for members to meet (and exceed) their ethical obligation to “render public interest professional services, including pro bono services … after disasters or in other emergencies.”


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Building Safety Evaluations during COVID-19

AIA’s Disaster Assistance Committee has compiled a guidance document to make you aware of changes to the Federal Disaster response during COVID-19. This document is intended as a reference tool for your use in determining whether or not to volunteer. While our collective objectives in providing Building Safety Evaluations remains the same, changes in our processes are required. There is a “Go or No-Go” self-assessment and operational modifications to consider when you do deploy. Thank you for what you do and stay safe!

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Hurricane Season Predictions and Insights

This presentation may be of interest to Maryland members as the East Coast will be most effected.

Join Interstate Restoration and Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Research Scientist and tropical meteorology expert with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University for a live webinar on Wednesday, June 10 at 11:00 am MT.

Topics include:

  • Latest predictions for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season
  • Potential risk to North America
  • Tropical cyclones and climate change

Even if you aren’t able to join live, register now and we’ll send you the recorded webinar to watch at your convenience.

Hurricane Season Predictions & Insights
Wednesday, June 10
11:00 am MT
1:00 pm ET

Phil Klotzbach, Ph.D.
Research Scientist

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FREE Webinar on FEMA E-74, Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage

Embrace seismic safety on your projects with a FREE webinar on FEMA E-74, Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage (June 10th)

Special early announcement for architects! Registration is limited.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Pacific
Registration Fee: Free

Architects play a crucial role in seismic safety and are especially integral when it comes to designing nonstructural components that are resistant to earthquakes. Earthquake damage to nonstructural components, like partitions, ceilings, glazing, and cladding, and MEP systems can cause serious safety issues to occupants and contribute to building downtime after an event. In recent U.S. earthquakes, nonstructural failures have also been the largest source of financial losses. In this free webinar hosted by the Applied Technology Council (ATC) about FEMA E-74, Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage, you will learn about the basic principles behind seismic resistant design of nonstructural components and the role you can play in reducing seismic risk of these elements. Architects are a prime audience for this webinar. Click here to register for the webinar, or click here to learn more.

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