What is being billed as an improved approach to national emergency preparedness on the part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is seeing a renewed emphasis on building code enforcement nationally.
The just-released 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, published by the agency, contends that “Disaster resilience starts with building codes because they enhance public safety and property protection.”
The document also states that FEMA plans to actively “encourage robust code enforcement, providing education and training when needed to help convey the value of standardized, up-to-date building codes.”
But the report additionally acknowledges that new building codes, or a renewed emphasis on existing codes, could prove costly to contractors and building owners.
For that reason, the agency is pledging to “work with Congress to develop flexible and holistic approaches for more federal funds to be spent on risk reduction and pre-disaster mitigation.”
The agency is also weighing the use of what are called “resilience bonds” to help fund such efforts.
In noting that natural disasters did more than $306 billion in damages last year, Brock Long says the best approach to disaster preparedness should be one that is “federally supported, state managed, and locally executed.”
Long, the Administrator of FEMA, also says the agency needs to be more streamlined and flexible in its operations, adding that he is committed to “making changes to FEMA to reflect these priorities.”
By Garry Boulard
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