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News & Press: Press Releases

AIA Iowa and Iowa HSEMD Agreement Establishes Specialty Team of Disaster Trained Volunteers

Tuesday, April 21, 2020  
Posted by: Jessica Reinert

Des Moines, IA (April 21, 2020) - The American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter leadership has entered in a partnership with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (Iowa HSEMD) through a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) for a trained Specialty Team of Iowa architects. Signed on March 3, 2020, the MOU between AIA Iowa and the Iowa HSEMD allows trained volunteers, members of AIA Iowa, to deploy to disaster locations and perform building inspections that can help ensure the safety of Iowa citizens in areas impacted by natural disasters.

The agreement delineates the responsibilities of AIA Iowa volunteers and Iowa HSEMD to deploy a specialty team in times of state and local emergency or disaster, formalizes the approval of the Iowa HSEMD and provides support for the specialty team and its deployment.

“The American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter is thrilled to partner with Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to provide a specialty team in times of disasters. Architects from across the State of Iowa have stepped up to volunteer to be a part of a specialty team that is trained and ready to deploy to disaster zones across Iowa when the need occurs. This partnership gives our members a unique opportunity to serve the public while supporting our organization’s mission: to advocate for the health and safety of the public,” said Jessica Reinert, Hon. AIA Iowa, CAE, IOM, Executive Director of AIA Iowa.

“Signing the MOU with the Department of Homeland Security has formalized the relationship between local government authorities and the AIA Iowa Disaster Assistance Program,” said Jason Kruse, AIA, of BNIM Architects in Des Moines and Co-Chair of the Disaster Assistance Committee. “Having the MOU will further allow our program to utilize the training and allow our AIA members to obtain continuing education units while helping their community.  Implementation of all this will assist in the safety assessment of affected structures while expediting the usage of the building following the disaster event.”

As of March 4, 2020, AIA Iowa has 26 fully trained and certified volunteers on the specialty team who are authorized to deploy to disaster zones when the need arises for building safety inspections. This specialty team is ready to deploy during any Governor-declared disaster in the state and can be deployed by written activation order from the Iowa HSEMD.

The AIA Iowa Disaster Assistance Committee provides AIA Iowa Members with a disaster assistance resource kit and leads training programs for the disaster response team, including a new virtual renewal program. AIA Iowa members must complete the full day of training once every five years and go through the virtual renewal program and pass the renewal test every two years to remain an active member of the disaster assistance team.

“AIA Iowa is proud to be the base of support for the Iowa Disaster Assistance Program (IDAP) and to now have a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security,” said Tom Hurd, AIA, of Spatial Designs Architects and Consultants in Mason City, Advisor to the AIA Iowa Disaster Assistance Committee. “As we can see in these trying times it is better to use our skills and be prepared so we can act quickly and decisively if needed.”
Since 1857, the American Institute of Architects has represented the professional interests of America's architects. AIA Iowa, headquartered in Des Moines, is a statewide affiliate of the national AIA. AIA Iowa members express their commitment to excellence in design and are proactive in the design of livable communities. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public, and colleagues of an AIA member architect's dedication to the highest standards in professional practice. For more information, go to www.aiaiowa.org or call 515.244.7502.

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For interviews or pictures, please contact Jessica Reinert at AIA Iowa, (515) 244-7502, or e-mail her at jreinert@aiaiowa.org.


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