Orange County Branch Newsletter
ASCE OC Disaster Preparedness Committee
ASCE Supports Napa and Ventura Relief Efforts December 2017
By: Sudi Shoja P.E.
Fires in N. California and recent fires in Ventura once again rage through our beautiful state, not just burning through the forests but destroying several thousand residential homes and other buildings. The loss of life of a fire fighter in the recent Thomas Fires and the destruction left behind are hard to bear at any time but, even more so just prior to the holidays.
ASCE has been partnering with California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in responding to disasters. In the last two recent fires, ASCE responded to the calls to provide Safety Assessment Program (SAP) evaluators to assist the local jurisdictions.
I was humbled when I received a note from an engineer who has lost her house in the Ventura fires and still made herself available to go and help the local agencies with their quest to assess the remaining facilities:
“I'm an SAP Evaluator not only living in Ventura but also lost my residence
and all belongings to the Thomas Fire. I'd be happy to help however I can.”
There are simply not enough words to express our feelings of sorrow and gratitude in the same note.
As of December 15th, when ASCE responded to support CalOES, Thomas Fire had consumed a quarter of million acres and destroyed over 1000 buildings.
ASCE’s list of current SAP evaluators exceeds 500 people. Both times, we received an overwhelming outpour of interest to assist. ASCE was able to provide 6 SAP evaluators to assist with the Ventura fires. Our responders for the Napa fires were placed on the back up list but not deployed.
ASCE branches in Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego work together to offer SAP classes. SAP is a volunteer service to respond to aftermath of a disaster to assist the local jurisdictions with assessing facilities. The primary purpose of the SAP program is to evaluate the structures to determine their safe use in order to help get people moved out of school gyms, parks, front lawns, and other locations back into their usable homes and businesses. Our goal at ASCE is to train as many qualifying engineers and inspectors to become SAP evaluators so we can assist in case of a disaster whether in our own community or further away.
We also would like to use this opportunity as a reminder to the current SAP evaluators to keep their certificates valid and renew in a timely manner. The recent disasters are just another reminder of the power of nature in destroying all that we have built as engineers and our much-needed expertise at such times to assist our fellow citizens to start the path to rebuild their lives.
To learn more about SAP please refer to the below link and watch for our upcoming training events in the chapter newsletter: