Orange County Branch Newsletter

April 2016

President's Message

When Disaster Strikes

By Steven L. King, P.E.

Recent flooding in Texas and earthquakes in both Ecuador and Japan remind us that disasters can happen at any moment. The aftermath of these tragic events highlights the need to be prepared and to have a plan in place when disaster strikes.

Individual preparedness is necessary for each of us to preserve our own lives, the lives of our families, and to protect our property. It’s pretty easy to identify a few steps in the planning process. Things such as identifying risk, creating a plan, and building a disaster kit. Some of the more advanced plans might include learning special skills such as CPR, survival techniques, or how to volunteer after a disaster.

As Civil engineers, we also play an integral component in disaster preparedness plans. As referenced in Policy Statement 499, ASCE supports comprehensive planning, education and training initiatives that increase the ability and readiness of civil engineers to quickly and effectively respond to both man-made and natural disasters that impact the nation's physical infrastructure.

The Disaster Preparedness committee was established as an effort to provide training for members to be prepared for responding to disasters. The committee currently partners with California’s Office of Emergency Services and organize classes to train qualified individuals to be able to provide damage assessment during emergencies. Qualified individuals include California Registered Civil, Structural, Geotechnical, Certified Engineering Geologists, and Architects.

In coordination with ASCE Los Angeles Section, the disaster preparedness committee will be conducting their next post-disaster Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training workshop on May 24th in Lakewood. Workshop attendees can expect to receive the following benefits:


  • Comprehensive overview of Cal EMA Safety Assessment Program

  • Learn about Mutual Aid Response

  • Study the concept of Emergency Operations

  • Explore the criteria for assessing the degree of severity of damage in buildings and lifeline systems

  • Determine the procedures for posting and barricading buildings

  • Develop you skills to use FEMA approved Field Manuals

  • Find out about FEMA reimbursement

  • Learn about liability protection laws for responders

  • Learn personal safety and preparedness


You can find out more about how to bcome a disaster service worker, the SAP workshop and registration detials here.

Will you be prepared when disaster strikes?

By: Steven L. King, PE




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