RI Architects & Engineers Emergency Response Task Force 7 [AEER TF7] is as a professional, volunteer organization, available to the State of Rhode Island /Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) and/or the RI State Building Code Commissioner’s Office (RISBCC), to mobilization and perform building safety evaluations, during times of disasters and emergencies pursuant to Rhode Island General Law, Title 30 Military Affairs and Defense Chapter 30-15, Emergency Management, Section 30-15-15 and The Rhode Island Emergency Management Assistance Compact, Section 30-15-15.9. When officially deployed by RIEMA, AEER TF7 volunteers will be designated as “disaster response workers”, providing technical expertise relative to public health, safety, and welfare as they pertain to disasters.
For those with a desire to assist Rhode Islanders in times of environmental crisis, we use our experience and expertise as architects and engineers, combined with skills we develop through training as building safety evaluators, to serve as second responders following a disaster event. Our organization is recognized by, and relied upon, by the RI Emergency Management Agency [RI EMA] to assist in damage assessment and rapid evaluation of disaster damaged buildings.
In addition we work with RIEMA to develop and/or refine methods for deployment and reporting as well as developing safety programs for the our members and others during deployment in the days immediately after a disaster.
Membership is open to individuals possessing technical expertise related to architecture and/or engineering such as but not limited to civil engineering, structural engineering, waterfront engineering, and/or geotechnical engineering, and those that either reside or licensed within the State of Rhode Island. Those interested in membership are requested to submit an application to AEER Board of Directors (“Board”) presenting their experience, education and other qualifications in the areas identified in Article II, paragraph (a).
[The following is information that we provide to help all understand what we provide through our training program. ]
In Rhode Island for building safety evaluation post disaster, RI AEER TF7 is recognized through the RI Emergency Management Agency by a formal Memorandum of Agreement, as Task Force 7. In addition the RI AEER sits on the RI Emergency Advisory Council chaired by the Lt. Governor.
The training program that RI AEER TF7 offers is the SAP program developed by CalOES that RI AEERTF7 enhanced as a SAP+ AEER program that is based on the CalOES SAP [Safety Assessment Program] and expanded to include other issues not addressed specifically &/or in as great a detail. CalOES, through Jim Barnes, has reviewed and endorsed our enhancements and refinements for further training disaster response workers.
Our organization offices and directors are engineers and architects with real personal field experience in multiple hazard disasters: i.e. earthquakes, hurricanes [with understanding of high wind events to include tornado], flood, explosions, snow/ roof collapses and others having been completed the Train the Trainer course developed by CalOES.
The benefits of architects and engineers training together and deploying together (along with building officials) has had important and measurable positive effect on the disaster assistance process as well as an establishing a close rapport with building officials in our state. AEER training was deemed mandatory by the State Building Commissioner for all building officials and inspectors when introduced by AEER six years ago and continues to be so.
AEER TF7 is currently the only design professionals’ organization recognized, endorsed and credentialed for emergency response deployment in Rhode Island. We train and coordinated with the RI Urban Search & Rescue, Task Force 1.
The recognized expertise of different design professionals in evaluating different construction types of structures, [i.e. steel frame, reinforced concrete, post tensioned, tilt-up conc. wood frame, masonry, as well as a variety of building types, high rise, mid-rise, airports, schools, bridges etc.] including historic structures is an important asset to the communities we serve. Assessing damage with regards to building occupancy is also a necessary criteria to be considered as well.
Both Architects and Engineers bring great specialty design &/or construction knowledge to the response effort.
Deployment is much more than the technical aspects of just a structural evaluation and placarding building structures. Safety, process, communication, and protocols in the field as well as promoting fairness and consistency of evaluating and placarding structures are essential.
Immunity from liability, legal concerns for professionals, as well as workmen’s compensation insurance protections for volunteers deployed are paramount. Our agreements with RI EMA provide us with those protections.
Through experienced speakers presenting to design professional audiences at national, regional and state conference events, RI AEER trains others for mutual aid if or when needed in RI. RI AEER TF7 has trained individuals in multiple states and from multiple country.
New Hampshire has developed their NH AEER, [based on our organization model and the training we provided] and are working through their State agencies for full recognition and acceptance. Massachusetts has developed a similar organization , [which we provided similar training to as well]. We have been in discussion with states such as North Carolina, Indiana, and Tennessee.
Our most recent training was presented at the national conference, Structural Congress 2014,hosted by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers [ASCE].
Kenneth J. Filarski FAIA, LEED FELLOW, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP, AICP, CFM, SAP+AEER, NCARB
P.O. Box 3210, Providence, RI 02909