Recently architects Cynthia Knight and Brian Fessler, of the McMillan Pazdan Smith Charleston Office, completed the California Emergency Management Agency’s Safety Assessment Program (SAP).
SAP provides experienced professionals who can quickly evaluate damaged structures after a disaster has occurred. Their evaluators identify those structures that are safe for occupancy to which people can return, while marking those that are unsafe or have restricted use. The program trains civil engineers, architects and building inspectors to complete these field evaluations. The training is approved by the federal Department of Homeland Security.
Most building departments do not have the ability to perform multitudes of inspections after natural or man-made disasters occur in a short period of time, so a strong need exists to have a cadre of trained professionals available to assist local governments, along with a program to manage these professionals.
SAP has successfully been used to respond to such disasters as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and recently Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. More information on the Safety Assessment Program can be found at www.calema.ca.gov