Since the Architect/Engineer Volunteer Act passed several years ago giving professional liability protection to volunteers when the Governor declares an event a disaster, training and organizing have increased.
SCSPE, AIA-SC and ASCE-SC have held training programs for engineers and architects preparing to serve when needed.
The South Carolina Guard has a special unit for engineers and architects to serve in the event of a natural disaster. This group offers FEMA training. Participants through the South Carolina Guard have both professional liability protection and workers’ compensation coverage.
Charleston County has set up a procedure for A/E volunteers. The Charleston County program also offers professional liability protection and workers’ compensation coverage.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Office is responsible for coordinating all responses to a disaster. The State Engineer has some responsibility to the EMO, and his office is the repository for disaster qualified engineers and architects. He has information on all qualified professionals through the various training programs.
Training for engineers began at last year’s SC Engineering Conference and Trade Show in Charleston. Then, SCSPE held the same “Disaster Assistance Program: Building Evaluator Training” taught by Michael Lingerfelt, FAIA again this winter.
Upon successful completion of this course participants are certified and credentialed by the California Emergency Management Agency (EMA) with cooperation from professional organizations and is recognized in many states.
The course is being offered again at the 2014 SC Engineering Conference and Trade Show in Hilton Head in June. AIA-SC offered the course to its members in April.
If you wish to be a volunteer in the event of a natural disaster, you must have training; so, take advantage of these training opportunities before the need arises.