Brian Bishop, with the State Fire Marshal’s office, helped form the so-called “B-SAFE Team.” B-SAFE stands for Building Safety Assessment and Failure Evaluation.
“We’re able to tap into private sector engineers and architects to utilize…their knowledge and abilities to help us with inspections,” Bishop says. The team of volunteer engineers and architects will work with state employees in the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The initiative has been in the works for a few years.
Bishop says such a team would’ve been helpful in 2008 when a tornado nearly wiped out the town of Parkersburg and floodwaters inundated Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. “For those large scale events, we’ll be able to utilize this team to have a set of volunteers, not only to provide extra labor, but also more expertise to the team,” Bishop says. Communities will be able to utilize the team as a state resource in times of disaster by contacting their county emergency manager.
State officials chose this week, which is Severe Weather Awareness Week, to publicize the new B-SAFE Team.