Schmidt: “We are only as strong as our communities’ weakest link”
Amy Schmidt has been a valued member of the Corporate Advisory Board at the Alliance for National & Community Resilience (ANCR) since its creation in 2016. Recently, Schmidt was appointed to ANCR’s board of directors. ANCR, founded by the Meridian Institute, the U.S. Resiliency Council (USRC) and the International Code Council (ICC), is developing the nation’s first whole-community resilience benchmark, which will provide communities a transparent, practical and common-sense metric to quickly and easily gauge their cross-sector resilience efforts.
As a new member of the ANCR Board Directors, Schmidt hopes to expand ANCR’s reach and bring together more stakeholders concerned with community resiliency. With expertise in construction, government affairs, chemistry and design, Schmidt will utilize her background to help cities prevent infrastructure failure caused by natural disasters.
“Resilience is the ability for communities to bounce back from unfortunate events either by preparing for them ahead of time or reacting to the damage or issues after they have occurred,” Schmidt said.
Being prepared leads to communities spending less money on disaster recovery efforts because money is being allocated up front for prevention, which is often cheaper than post-disaster relief. In 2005, the Multihazard Mitigation Council conducted a widely-cited study that showed that every $1 spent on mitigation saves society an average of $4. ICC has pledged $100,000 to update the study in order to support the implementation of mitigation practices.
ANCR aims to find solutions to ease the burdens caused by catastrophic events so that people can recover faster and more quickly reassume their daily routines. This will lessen the economic impact on communities.
“When people are displaced from their homes it effects their social and economic status,” Schmidt said. “We are only strong as our communities’ weakest link.”
Benchmarking is important for community awareness and preparedness. It helps residents to judge if buildings are up-to-date with the latest building codes. It evaluates how effectively codes are being implemented and enforced and how communities can improve their overall safety. “I want to be able to create well-rounded and robust benchmarks,” Schmidt shared.
Schmidt also explained that by incorporating building code expert insight, ANCR may be able to develop code proposals that are tailored for specific communities that will help adopt and implement practical and meaningful codes in a timely manner. This will in turn help buildings to better withstand disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages and heatwaves.
ANCR can benefit from people who participate in the ICC code development process. “They have the opportunity to share precious experience and insight regarding building performance and potential risks,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt hopes that the ANCR end-product makes the community aware of actions that could prevent future expenditures and hardship. ANCR’s goal is to continue to work towards prevention of costly inaction.