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Update on Hurricane Ian

As Hurricane Ian continues its northward track, the International Code Council reminds its members and partners to remain alert to continuing risks from this devastating storm. Heavy rainfall, life-threatening storm surge, and riverine flooding are forecast for parts of Georgia, the Carolinas, and southeast Virginia. Hurricane-force winds continue to pose a threat to people and communities in Ian’s path.

Photo courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Ian is forecast to rapidly transition into an extratropical low on Friday night and dissipate by Saturday after making landfall in the Carolinas. Major riverine flooding continues to impact central Florida at record levels through next week. Lifesaving and life-sustaining actions in affected areas remain the priority for federal, state, and local governments.

Photo courtesy of Associated Press

Government Assistance for Code Organizations Following Ian 

President Biden has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Florida. An Emergency Declaration has been issued for South Carolina and a major disaster declaration may follow. Code officials are reminded that FEMA has a disaster policy specifically aimed at providing much needed assistance for code officials and floodplain managers during disaster response and initial recovery for up to 180 days following a major disaster declaration.

This policy, administered under FEMA’s Public Assistance program, offers reimbursement for critical community functions such as building code administration, code enforcement, floodplain management administration and enforcement, and conducting substantial damage surveys inspections in affected communities. See FEMA’s fact sheet, How to apply for Building Code Administration and Enforcement Reimbursement through FEMA's Public Assistance Program, for more information.

Also, following the declaration of a major disaster FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides funding to governments and communities so they can rebuild in a way that reduces or mitigates future disaster losses in communities. Typically, HMGP funds are available statewide and are not limited only to declared counties. Post-disaster code enforcement including inspections, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Substantial Damage determinations and other disaster-resistant building codes projects are allowable expenses under HMGP.

For more information contact your Code Council Government Relations Regional Manager or Karl Fippinger, Vice President - Government Relations, Fire and Disaster Mitigation at kfippinger@iccsafe.org.

FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Building Code-Related Hazard Mitigation Opportunities 

The Code Council and FEMA support community-based mitigation strategies that decrease risk and repetitive loss while increasing a community’s resilience to disasters. As part of those strategies, the adoption and enforcement of building codes has been identified as one of the five priorities of FEMA’s FY2022 BRIC program. Eligible building code adoption and enforcement activities for the proposed BRIC program are activities that:

  • Evaluate adoption and/or implementation of codes that reduce risk
  • Enhance existing adopted codes to incorporate more current requirements or higher standards
  • Develop professional workforce capabilities through technical assistance and training

The BRIC program application period is currently open, closing on January 27, 2023. For more information on the disaster-resistant provisions of the International Codes or the FEMA BRIC program, contact your Code Council Government Relations Regional Manager or Karl Fippinger, Vice President - Government Relations, Fire and Disaster Mitigation at kfippinger@iccsafe.org.

As an aid to community disaster response, the Code Council and the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) sponsor the Disaster Response Alliance (DRA). The DRA maintains a national database of skilled, trained, and certified building safety professionals who are standing by and ready to assist communities in need. The DRA has assembled a cadre of skilled code officials, engineers, and others from across the country who are willing to assist with post-disaster safety assessments, building damage assessments, inspections, and surge support for other code-related functions. The Disaster Response Alliance brings together skilled, volunteer second responders in one place for easy access and quick mobilization. Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial entities may request assistance directly through the DRA website. 

Interested in becoming a DRA resource? 

The DRA is always looking for volunteers. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a DRA second responder resource, please visit the Volunteer Now link on the DRA website. Architects, engineers, and building safety professionals willing to make a difference during times of disaster are encouraged to apply. The DRA is also looking for individuals with specialized skills, knowledge, or abilities such as plans examiners, permit technicians, and building inspectors.