ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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As Hurricane Season Unfurls, Standards Protect Homes Nationwide

New York, Aug 14, 2009

With the first Atlantic hurricane of the season approaching the southeast part of the nation, Americans are actively working to prepare their homes and communities against storm damage. Standards are in place to assure the integrity of buildings and the safety of residents as Hurricane Bill picks up speed.

Several standards developed by ASTM International, a member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), evaluate the impact of wind-borne debris that may strike buildings as a result of strong storm winds. These documents set the test method (ASTM E1886-05) and provide a specification (ASTM E1996-09) for determining the performance of windows, doors, and storm shutters. Originally developed for hurricanes, ASTM E1996-09 may also be used for other storms capable of generating wind-borne debris.

Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities

During emergencies and natural disasters, individuals with disabilities may face unique challenges. A Workshop Report published by ANSI’s Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) examines the need for standards-based solutions to assist this population.

The report was produced following the ANSI-HSSP Workshop on Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, held February 3–4, 2009, at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. In a series of panels, roundtable discussions, and public input sessions, over 100 public and private sector participants discussed real-life examples of evacuation of people with disabilities from recent events, the strengths and weaknesses of existing standards, and priorities in creating standards for emergency preparedness.

To read the ANSI-HSSP Workshop Report, click here. To listen to it or view it in American Sign Language, click here.

Even if structures are not impacted by debris, heavy rain accompanied by strong winds can lead to damage during a hurricane. An International Standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides guidelines for testing a building’s ability to keep water out under these conditions. ISO 15821:2007, Doorsets and windows - Water-tightness test under dynamic pressure - Cyclonic aspects, is applicable to areas subject to severe weather including typhoons, hurricanes, and cyclones.

This standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 162, Doors and windows. The ANSI-accredited Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to this TC is led by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Emergency responders may face an increased volume of calls during a hurricane. An American National Standard developed by the Information Technology Industry Council/National Committee for Information Technology Standards (ITI/INCITS), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, facilitates the transfer of vital information about an emergency to these responders. ANSI INCITS 415-2006, Homeland Security Mapping Standard - Point Symbology for Emergency Management, establishes a common set of symbols for use by mapmakers in support of emergency managers and first responders, allowing them to rapidly interpret map data and disseminate consistent, usable information.

Preparation is key for safety during hurricane season, and standards provide critical guidance both in advance and in the midst of a storm. The International Code Council (ICC), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, provides a list of tips for homeowners and public safety officials during hurricane season. To learn more, click here.

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