NY Chapter Leads Cal EMA Training

NY Chapter Leads Cal EMA Training

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Aug 05, 2013
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Architects and designers more and more see themselves as assets in local disaster response. In New York, thorough disaster response training sessions are preparing professionals to act when a disaster strikes the best ways they'd know how.

Earlier this Summer Architecture for Humanity's New York Chapter held a building assessment training session at the Office of Emergency Management. This training taught participants to conduct rapid damage assessments of structures affected by earthquakes, wind and water, as well as the appropriate protocol for coordinating with local and state agencies that participate in the program.

This training session was put together in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and AIA NY's Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee.

As a program administered by the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), participants received Building Evaluator certification in the California Safety Assessment Program (SAP) upon completion of this course, and can now appropriately and safely assess structures for habitability in the event of a disaster in states that participate in the program. Learn more about this training session here.


Sandy Regional Program Manager, Rachel Minnery (certified SAP trainer) leading the training session

Many of the 23 participants came to the training because they were frustrated at not being able to respond with their professional skills following the Hurricane Sandy event. As in this case, combining architects' specialized skills and knowledge in the built environment with trainings that enable them to act, allow architects to contribute in the best way they can.


      We, as architects, have informed knowledge and experience pertaining to numerous trades allowing us to comprehend complex systems yet visualize a cohesive and culturally informed end goal.

      - Jonathan Fournier


With our many sets of skills, architects can potentially be involved in all phases of disaster response. This training session is just one of the many ways architects can get involved in disaster mitigation, response, and recovery.


      Our role as architects in disaster recovery is a phased process.

      First level of response is to confirm the safety of the structures that are left standing and give recommendations on their habitability and access.

      Second phase is, in the process of evaluation and clean up, to learn what didn't work and what did in order to make better decisions in the future.

      Third is to engage in a thoughtful design/build process that incorporates what we have learned and improves the speed and efficacy of the rebuilding process.

      -Jackie Urra, AIA, MBA, NCARB, LEED AP


With the realization in the importance of providing design professionals with the tools and opportunities to get involved, Architecture for Humanity hopes to work with communities and other organizations to provide more such opportunities in the future.

Follow for more opportunities to come!



Training participants following the training