Indiana Department of Homeland Security Receives National Award for Post-Disaster Building Assessment Team

Indiana Department of Homeland SecurityIndianapolis – The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has been recognized with a 2016 national award for its team that will rapidly respond to inspect buildings after a man-made or natural disaster. 

The National Earthquake Conference selected Indiana for a National Award in Excellence in the category of “Multi-jurisdictional Planning” for its Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Monitoring Team (I-BEAM). The National Awards in Excellence are presented once every four years. 

“The I-BEAM Team’s ability to rapidly respond and assess building safety is crucial to our state’s response to a disaster,” said Governor Mike Pence. “The team’s work helps identify safe structures, which is critical in reopening essential services, saving lives and helping communities recover and rebuild.” 

Two aspects that make Indiana’s team unique is that it is self-sustaining and it has the first communications trailer in the nation that is totally wind and solar powered. 

Partners in the award selection and presentation are the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC) Board of Directors in partnership with the Northeast States Emergency Consortium (NESEC), the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), and the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW). 

The Indiana team strives to provide all necessary equipment for the team’s inspectors and command structure in the event of a disaster deployment. This includes all needed mobile command center, command tents, briefing tents, sleeping tents, restrooms, showers, food, water, and cooking facilities. There is also the necessary supporting equipment such as a power generator, heating\cooling and communications. 

While I-BEAM can respond to multiple situations that would widely affect building safety, the impetus for the team’s formation was the threat of a major earthquake to Indiana due to seismic zones in Indiana, Missouri and Illinois. The New Madrid Seismic Zone is located 180 miles southwest of Evansville, and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone encompasses parts of Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana. 

I-BEAM is comprised of volunteers from around Indiana and personnel from IDHS who have a background in building safety. After any man-made or natural event which may destabilize buildings, I-BEAM can perform structural assessments to determine whether or not buildings are safe to be used again. 

The National Awards recognize organizations and agencies for their achievements as demonstrated through exemplary programs, projects and products that address earthquake risk reduction within the United States. The awards will be presented at the National Earthquake Conference held at The Hilton Long Beach in Long Beach, California, on May 5, 2016. Summaries of the 2016 winning programs and projects are posted on the Western States Seismic Policy Council’s website at www.wsspc.org.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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