State Disaster Assistance Program Update JUL18

While we are officially in Hurricane Season, it’s been quiet so far. The recent events in Ellicott City prove, however, that disasters can happen at any moment.

The AIA Disaster Assistance Program (DAP) supports a nationwide network of architects to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. Trained architects augment municipal building department staff post-disaster to assess the safety and habitability of homes and buildings, significantly reducing the need for temporary shelters and emergency services while mitigating future public safety dangers. The AIA Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct calls on members to render professional services for the public interest, including pro bono services, after disasters or in other emergencies. Participating in your State Disaster Assistance Program is a great way to give back in your state and beyond.

Based on the State of California’s training program, the AIA Safety Assessment Program (SAP) Training educates architects, engineers, and building inspectors to evaluate the post-disaster safety and habitability of homes and buildings as a Building Evaluator. AIA Maryland hosted its first training back in April and we are hoping to host another class this Fall. If you are interested, please email Sandi Worthman.

The AIA Maryland Disaster Assistance Program (DAP) continues to work with Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and we are introducing The AIA and DAP to local emergency managers across the state. By working with MEMA, our members can be called to asses structures anywhere in the US or abroad. After a national or international disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would issue a request for volunteers through MEMA.

If all our efforts don’t convince you that The AIA is serious about DAPs, check out the work The AIA is doing with Congress. The AIA has been working with your legislators on language for the Disaster Recovery Reform Act. Highlights include: language to recognize the role of architects in post-disaster situations; requires FEMA include a definition for architects under the types of professionals that can help in disaster situations – previously only included engineers; requires FEMA issue standard guidelines to analyze the structural safety and habitability of buildings and, requires FEMA to work with The AIA to write those guidelines. More on this to come soon as your help will be needed to pass the bill.