Orange County Branch Newsletter

September 2014

Continuing Education Training

ASCE Orange County Continuing Education- Safety Assessment Program Training

By Sudi Shoja, P.E. Disaster Preparedness Committee Chair

The ASCE Orange County Branch– Disaster/Emergency Preparedness Committee held its first Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training to prepare professional engineers and certified inspectors to respond to the aftermath of disasters and assist in evaluation of structures and lifelines.

The training on August 22nd, 2014, provided by Sudi Shoja, P.E. Committee Chair and Ziad Mazboudi, P.E. ASCE Region 9 Chair, was well attended by 41 engineers from both public and private sectors coming as far as Paso Robles, CA.

Disasters create terrible consequences, forcing people out of their homes into temporary shelters and closing down communities. After every disaster and in particular earthquakes, city officials struggle to evaluate building safety in hundreds or thousands of damaged structures.

Experience in dealing with earthquakes reveals that the number of undamaged structures can be more than three times the number of damaged structures that require to be red tagged (unsafe) or yellow tagged (required additional investigation prior to occupancy).

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Safety Assessment Program (SAP) provides experienced professionals who can quickly evaluate damaged structures, and identify those that are safe for occupancy to which people can return, while making those that are unsafe or have the need for additional structural investigation restricted use.  It accepts civil, structural, geotechnical, and architectural licenses from any state, along with many ICC building inspector certifications.

Although unintended, the training served as a great prelude to the 6.0 Napa earthquake that occured on Sunday August 24th, 2014.  The newly trained volunteers responded with wishes to assist. The ASCE Region 9 Emergency Management Committee was asked by the State Coordinator to assist in providing volunteers to inspect buildings in Napa and Vallejo. However the request was specifically requesting volunteers from Northern California so our local volunteers were not called upon.

We are grateful to Irvine Ranch Water District for the use of their beautiful facility for this training and for accommodating us. Also, a “thank you” goes out to the ASCE OC Branch Continuing Education Committee for helping to coordinate this event.