The Pacific Northwest is surrounded by natural beauty, shaped by tectonic forces over millennia. However, the same forces that have altered the landscape have the ability to significantly alter our lives. In the event of a natural disaster, buildings will need quick and accurate evaluations of their structural integrity in order to ensure the safety of the public. During this time, local building inspectors will likely be overwhelmed, and trained volunteers will be needed to assist local governments in the assesment of damage to affected buildings.

Anticipating this need, GBD hosted an in-house training event on June 11, 2015 that addressed the proper evaluation of buildings after earthquakes, windstorms and floods. The training, coordinated by California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Safety Assessment Program (Cal OES SAP), follows the standards set forth by the Applied Technology Council (ATC), a nonprofit corporation that develops and promotes engineering resources for hazard mitigation.

Training under ATC’s standards, ATC-20 Postearthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings and ATC-45 Safety Evaluation of Buildings after Windstorms and Floods, allows for licensed professionals in the private sector to become certified Disaster Service Worker (DSW) Volunteers. These volunteers are then dispatched as needed through various volunteer and professional organizations. GBD now has 16 registered architects who are Disaster Service Worker Volunteers certified by Cal OES SAP.

Following a natural disaster, the vital role played by certified DSW Volunteers will increase the resiliency of affected communities. GBD is pleased to be prepared when and if the time comes.