Updates from AIA's Disaster Assistance Program:
AIA and its architect volunteers assist communities following disasters. Updates regarding AIA’s activities in disaster areas, member efforts, recovery resources and volunteer opportunities are provided below.
An approximately 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck north of Anchorage, Alaska. Moderate level earthquakes can pose a collapse hazard to structures in poor condition such as unreinforced masonry buildings, as well as building components that are not adequately secured or tied to the structure such as chimneys and parapets. Damage to unbraced building components may inhibit elevator operation, rupture gas lines, and take down powerlines. In addition to aftershocks, fires, landslides, tsunamis, and flooding are secondary hazards that may impact a building after an earthquake. The tsunami risk for the west coast is also being evaluated.
AIA members respond to Butte Fire
Coordinated by AIA California Council, Eighteen architects deployed to the Paradise area to conduct building safety assessments for two weeks. Additionally, the AIA Central Valley chapter has been hard at work all over Butte County providing community members with recovery resources.
AIA members respond to Hurricane Florence
After Hurricane Florence brought record flooding to North and South Carolina, SAP-trained AIA Disaster Assistance volunteers were deployed in North and South Carolina by the North Carolina Emergency Management Agency and the South Carolina State Guard, respectively. Volunteers assessed homes in New Bern, NC, Jones County, NC, Robeson County, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC; helping residents better understand the safety of their structures and reducing vulnerability to secondary hazards.
AIA members respond to Wisconsin flooding
In late August, the upper midwest and southwestern Wisconsin experienced unusually heavy rains and flooding that caused widespread damage.
Trained Wisconsin architect volunteers were deployed by Wisconsin Emergency Management and Dane County Emergency Management to provide building safety assessments for more than 500 buildings throughout southwestern Wisconsin.
AIA members provide technical assistance to California fire victims
AIA members are volunteering at Community Resource Centers to provide technical assistance on disaster recovery. A federal disaster declaration was issued for Shasta County, CA where the Carr fire has damaged or destroyed 1,600 structures. Throughout the State, more than 1,900 structures have been damaged or destroyed by wildfires and more than 11,300 buildings remain vulnerable.
Why is architects’ volunteerism so important to a city’s disaster recovery?
City staff, including building inspectors, undoubtedly have their hands full contending with the effects of a disaster potentially affecting large portions of their city’s population and geographic area, and therefore rely upon volunteer resources to expedite a safe return.
The AIA Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training provides the specialized knowledge and technical skills to architects, engineers and building inspectors needed to determine if a home or other building is safe and habitable
Not only do licensed architects protect the health, safety and welfare of the public, but AIA’s Code of Ethics asks members to provide emergency services in times of disaster as part of our commitment to the public.
Take a virtual walk alongside one of our volunteer teams in Rockport, Texas after Hurricane Harvey.
Find an AIA Safety Assessment and Disaster Assistance training on our calendar or sign up to be alerted when a training in your area.
Want to learn more?
Design your next building to be both resilient and adaptable and start the AIA Resilience and Adaptation Education series online. (More courses coming later this year.)
Architects Respond to Disasters
Architects can use their building knowledge to help their communities both before and after a disaster. AIA's Disaster Assistance Program supports Components and equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. Since 1972, the program has ensured that AIA, Chapters, and members are prepared to assist communities nationwide and internationally in leadership and volunteer roles. At the request of a state or local jurisdiction, our members are trained to serve as volunteers to perform rapid or building safety assessments in their communities following a disaster.
Join the national AIA Resilience Network
The AIA Resilience Network is a virtual member forum focusing on topics of hazard mitigation, disaster assistance, climate adaptation and resilience. Network members share knowledge, news, research and events and based on your interest and expertise, AIA matches members with opportunities to participate in conferences or panel presentations. Resilience is a systems-based approach to addressing shocks and stresses, and it requires a variety of perspectives, skills and experience.
Learn about the important role of architects in disasters
Want to prepare for the hazards in your own back yard and be ready to respond as a “citizen architect” to help your community recover from a hazard event? Connect with your local or state AIA chapter to inquire about your state’s disaster assistance program. A directory of chapter committees can be found in the Appendix of the 3rd Edition of the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook.
Disaster Assistance Program
The AIA Disaster Assistance Program supports chapters and equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. Since 1972, the program has ensured that AIA, Chapters, and members are prepared to assist communities nationwide and internationally in leadership and volunteer roles.