OK…couldn’t resist the bad pun! DERT actually stands for Disaster Emergency Response Team and three TMS staff members recently participated in a training session which enabled them to become certified SAP (Safety Assessment Program) volunteers. TMS’s Jason Bailey provided us with the following information about the necessity of this program and how architects can play a vital role in disaster relief efforts.
The increased frequency and growing destructive power of today’s natural and man-made disasters have placed the entire nation on edge and put a strain on government agencies. Every state experiences some form of emergency from the local to the state level, with New Hampshire seeing its fair share of hurricanes, floods, epic snow and ice storms and on the rare occasion, tornadoes. These disasters have placed hardships on many states and left many unprepared for the recovery efforts that lie ahead. Several organizations, including AIANH, want to stand ready to respond to disasters and assist with public safety and economic recovery.
The New Hampshire Fire Training Building in Concord, NH played host to the Cal EMA Safety Assessment Program (SAP) Training session on January 18th, which brought building professionals together to become certified SAP volunteers. TMS Architects was represented by Nicole Martineau, AIA, Jason Bailey, AIA and Samia Touma, Assoc. AIA. Members of the Rhode Island Emergency Response Team conducted the day long course educating NH architects, structural and civil engineers and building code officials in the techniques required to quickly and safely evaluate structures for damage and hazards in the aftermath of a disaster. AIANH hopes to garnish a growing relationship with the Rhode Island AEER and form an educated network of New England building professionals, called the NH Disaster Emergency Response Team (DERT), and be ready and able to respond when asked by local, state or Federal organizations. The purpose of this program is not only to evaluate structures for the public’s safety and welfare, but to help the local economy recover by evaluating which structures may be habitable, occupied to keep businesses operating or provide limited access to recover personal belongings. These condition assessments can help alleviate the strain on supplies, allowing supplies to enter more critical locations. More importantly, receiving federal aid can be difficult to procure if not done rapidly and systematically. The course taught key evaluation techniques to allow SAP volunteers to enter the affected area and make concise and educated evaluations that are then reported back to command centers where the reports are processed to calculate estimated property and infrastructure damage or request more detailed assessments.
Natural and man-made disasters are not a matter of “if” as much as they are matter of “when”. TMS Architects is proud to be a member of the DERT program and is ready to respond should the need arise.