Fire buring along hillside

Natural disasters can strike at any time. Fortunately, there are steps you can take after a disaster to positively impact rebuilding efforts for your community’s homeowners, business owners, and municipality as a whole.

Fire burning on hillside with houses in the forefront

Fast-action recovery following the Marshall Fire

On December 30, 2021, the infamous Marshall Fire hit Superior, Colorado, resulting in complete destruction of homes within a  6,219-acre perimeter. The fire created the most destruction of any fire in Colorado’s history, damaging or destroying more than 400 homes in the Town of Superior and destroying 1132 homes in Boulder County.

On December 31, response efforts were already underway in the Town of Superior. In coordination with the local fire district, Superior’s chief building director initiated the call-out process for the Colorado Chapter of ICC for disaster mitigation and evaluations and reached out to SAFEbuilt.

Recording all damage in three days

By January 1, 2022, SAFEbuilt was already taking action and providing full-service building department services to aid in the community’s recovery (including 8 field inspectors on scene that went out into the community and evaluated damage to all commercial and residential structures). Working side by side with municipal inspectors and fire department personnel, we had all structures recorded in the Boulder County Emergency Response software in just three days.

SAFEbuilt was able to use our national collective resources to help the Town begin recovery from this huge blow to their community. Being able to use our Community Core software to issue permits within 2 days of the event, at a remote location, was instrumental in their rebuilding effort.

Expedite recovery in the wake of natural disasters 

Utilizing on-site permitting (also called mobile permitting) teams is one of the most effective ways to streamline recovery efforts following a natural disaster. CommunityCore in-the-field capabilities not only assists but streamlines all permitting processes. 

Tornado going through field

Complete structure assessments quicker

After a supercell thunderstorm rolled through northern Colorado, the Town of Windsor lay devastated from a mile-wide tornado that tore a 35-mile-long path and caused $193 million in damage. Businesses and homes were destroyed, debris clogged the roads, and shocked residents started the process of rebuilding their lives.

As the Town’s building department services provider, SAFEbuilt immediately went to work. After the critical issues of life safety were resolved, we made every effort to help the community rebuild as expeditiously as possible. 

We dispatched two mobile permitting units to assess damage and issue permits on the spot. The team visually assessed 800 structures in just three days. With in-the-field permitting capabilities, the team was able to issue hundreds of permits and perform the necessary inspections only days after the disaster. More than 100 homeowners were able to start rebuilding their lives quickly and in compliance with proper building codes.

Use existing expertise to expedite recovery efforts

We also helped the City of Powder Springs, Georgia recover after a flood that was declared “off the charts,” “epic,” and “stunning” by the U.S. Geological Survey. The area was confirmed a natural disaster area and FEMA stepped in to oversee and support. Approximately 100 structures in Powder Springs were identified as being impacted by the flood initially, and more than 120 structures required inspection and assessment.

The local team consulted with SAFEbuilt employees who had worked in flood-damaged areas after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. These individuals were a valuable resource to determine Georgia’s response and inspection and assessment tactics during the Powder Springs flood. We utilized ATC 45 rapid assessment forms to conduct initial assessments on over 90 structures within two weeks of the initial flooding event, and completed full assessments on more red- and yellow-carded structures within one month of initial rainfall.

 

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Streamline natural disaster response with CommunityCore permitting software

SAFEbuilt’s specialized permitting software CommunityCore was also used to convert all flood inspections into Flood Permits. Assessment forms were scanned into the system and attached to these permits, in the field. This allowed City and staff to track the progress of rebuilding efforts and identify abandoned structures that required more City involvement.

Prepare your community for natural disaster

Just because natural disasters are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world, it’s still possible to prepare for them — including having a solid path forward to respond and recover. SAFEbuilt supports communities with on-site permitting teams so businesses and residents can focus on long-term recovery. 

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SAFEbuilt is a community development services company. We provide a comprehensive building department, private provider, and other professional services with the goal of helping our customers build better, safer communities.