Now Available! FEMA P-2090/ NIST SP-1254 Special Report

The joint FEMA P-2090/ NIST SP-1254 Special Report, Recommended Options for Improving the Built Environment for Post-Earthquake Reoccupancy and Functional Recovery Time, is available for immediate download.  This report was requested by Congress as part of the most recent National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) reauthorization, and is the work of a Committee of Experts including more than 30 individuals from federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private sector entities, disaster management professional associations, engineering professional associations, and professional construction and homebuilding industry associations.

The report provides options in the form of recommendations, tasks, and alternatives for improving the built environment to increase resilience and reduce the impacts of future natural hazard events.  It includes one overarching recommendation and six additional supporting recommendations. Across all recommendations, there are 17 tasks identifying necessary actions and nine possible alternative actions needed for implementation.  Finally, the report includes an assessment of the recommendations and describes a path forward for implementation.  

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Bill Coulbourne, ATC Director of Wind and Flood Hazard Mitigation, deployed to Tuscaloosa, AL with a team sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by Dr. David Prevatt of the University of Florida. Dr. Prevatt and the other university researchers focused on the performance of wood frame buildings with the expectation to discover ways to improve wood frame buildings when impacted by tornadoes with lower wind speeds (EF0 to EF3). The team was able to investigate the failure mechanisms of approximately 150 buildings along a 6 mile long track of the tornado. The information collected will be used to determine how the building structures might be improved to allow people to stay alive in their homes during a tornadic event.

The picture below shows an apartment complex damaged with what the team believes was a tornado strengthened to an EF5 category (the most severe with wind speeds at or above 200 mph). There were several fatalities reported here. The buildings were built in 2010. This site is expected to be studied in order to learn how to build buildings that survive tornadoes weaker than EF5.

The next picture shows a residential structure damaged by tornado wind speeds equivalent to an EF4. A couple and their dog survived this severe damage by huddling in the center of the house. When the storm passed,  several walls collapsed on top of them seemingly saving all three of them from severe injury as the rest of the house was demolished. While there was a below-grade cellar just behind the house, the occupants never had the chance to get into the cellar for more protection.