History of TNSAVE

Numerous professional organizations have promoted the idea of utilizing the expertise of building professionals to help in response to national disasters.  California has been in the vanguard of efforts due to the frequency and magnitude of damages to infrastructure caused by numerous earthquakes over the years.   When  planes destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, our attitudes changed in the United States forever.  Although the damages to infrastructure were minimal in 1812 due to limited populations, one of the most intense earthquakes happened along the New Madrid Fault near the Mississippi River from Mississippi to Missouri.  Population centers such as Memphis and St. Louis stand to suffer devastating losses to infrastructure and injuries and loss of human life if seismic activity erupts there again. One key organization dedicated to responses to the damages along the New Madrid Fault is the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC).  This organization serves the eight states that would be affected by seismic damages along the New Madrid Fault.

Another significant event in 2005, attracted much attention across the United States.  Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane which caused widespread damage to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  Human suffering highlighted the urgent need for preparation to minimize human suffering.  Planning for major disaster became a tremendous concern for Americans.  Private and Government agencies increased their efforts to be more proactive when preparing for these disasters. 

Based on the experiences of structural engineers who responded to the September 11 disaster in NY, the National Council of Structural Engineers published guide lines for preparation and response to disaster. They developed the SEERP (Structural Engineers Emergency Response Plan) Manual which has been very useful with recommendations directed to facilitate preparation for national disasters.

A group of Tennessee  structural engineers began their efforts to provide voluntary services to Tennessee in case of a disaster.  The potential for an earthquake along the New Madrid Fault was a major incentive. TNSEA formed a SEER committee with the aim to follow procedures of the NCSEA. With the support of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and CUSEC , several structural engineers embarked on efforts to adopt written procedures to direct a volunteer organization with the purpose of responding to needs for evaluating structures damaged by earthquake, wind , or flooding.  Recognizing the scope of the need, they solicited the cooperation of statewide organizations:  American Institute of Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers, Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, Tennessee Structural Engineers Assoc., American General Contractors, American Council of Engineering Companies, and ASCE Geotechnical Engineers who formed a coalition to develop and administer the program. The coalition was named TNSAVE.  CUSEC and TEMA were essential to the development of the coalition. Credit must be given to the MOSAVE  chapters of Missouri who voluntarily developed procedures for their state which included training and evaluation of structures damaged during earthquakes or wind events.   MOSAVE was generous in sharing the procedures they developed over many years of work in the state of Missouri.  They also provided training for TNSAVE (Tennessee Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation) instructors These training classes follow the guidelines of the Applied Technology Council which also is the basis of training in California.   The classes follow the  ATC 20/45 curriculum.

The board members of TNSAVE met frequently during the years  2012 and 2013 to develop a manual of procedures which provide guidelines for evaluating structures damaged during earthquake, wind, or flood.  TEMA, and CUSEC worked alongside TNSAVE  to assure the efforts of the volunteers would be effective and fit within the authority of Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Board of Directors still meet frequently to develop the needed plans and communication that will be used in the case of a major emergency.  TNSAVE is providing training based on training developed by the Applied Technology Council. The classes are provided several times a year across the state of Tennessee.  TNSAVE invites those who are interested in serving as a volunteer to register on the website and provide contact information.  It will be necessary to complete our training class before being assigned as a volunteer. Find the website at www.TNSAVE.org.   See the Frequently asked questions on the website for more information.

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