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Taking Action with Standards during National Preparedness Month


September marks National Preparedness Month, with the 2015 theme "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today." The campaign is an opportunity for communities around the country to prepare for emergencies and the unexpected, as the nation reflects on national and manmade disasters.

A large number of members and accredited standards developers of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) help this initiative through various standards that can be utilized to prepare for each of the disasters highlighted during the four weeks of the national campaign:

September 1-5 Flood

September 6-12 Wildfire

September 13-19 Hurricane

September 20-26 Power Outage

President Obama issued a proclamation stating: "No challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change. Cities along our Eastern seaboard now flood at high tide, and in the West, wildfire season now lasts most of the year. Some communities are parched by the worst drought in generations, while others have been drenched by unprecedented rainfall. Our climate is changing quickly, and it poses a threat to our nation's safety and security."

The following list - while by no means inclusive - highlights standards that can be incorporated into disaster prevention based on each weekly national preparedness issue.

Flood & Hurricane Preparation

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, flooding is the leading natural disaster in the United States and flash flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths. ASCE/SEI 24-14, Flood Resistant Design and Construction is a standard prepared by the Flood Resistant Design and Construction Committee of the Codes and Standards Activities Division of the Structural Engineering Institute of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. It provides minimum requirements for design and construction of structures located in flood hazard areas and subject to building code requirements. The standard also includes requirements for building access, miscellaneous construction, and structures in high-risk flood hazard areas subject to flooding associated with alluvial fans, flash floods, mudslides, erosion, high velocity flow, coastal wave action, or ice jams and debris, among other guidance.

Hurricanes can have a devastating impact on communities, even years after they occur, as seen with Katrina and Sandy in the past decade. A standard developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the International Code Council (ICC), in conjunction with the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), ICC 500-2008, ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, sets down minimum design and construction requirements for storm shelters designed to protect individuals from heavy winds associated with hurricanes, as well as from tornadoes and other storms exhibiting powerful winds. It also includes design requirements for the shelters' structural system and safety and health requirements for shelter occupants.

Another American National Standard (ANS), ANSI/ANS 2.3-2011, Estimating Tornado, Hurricane, and Extreme Straight Line Wind Characteristics at Nuclear Facility Sites covers relevant site phenomena caused by hurricanes and tornadoes, providing important data for consideration during the design of nuclear facilities. The ANS was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the American Nuclear Society.

An international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization(ISO) provides guidelines for testing a building's ability to keep water out under hurricane 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. The standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 162, Doors and windows. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to this TC is led by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.


Wildfire prevention week serves to prevent land destruction and observe safety measures. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 3,000 wildfires burned over 3.5 million acres in 2014. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an ANSI member and audited designator, has developed several wildfire standards. One such standard is applicable to all personnel who respond to wildfires. NFPA 1051, Standard for Wildland Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, identifies the minimum job performance requirements for wildfire-incident-related duties of a firefighter and officer.

Multiple NFPA wildfire standards are available on the ANSI webstore.

Power Outages

The design of reliable industrial and commercial power distribution systems is critical because of the high cost associated with power outages. ANSI member and accredited standards developer IEEE published IEEE 859-1987 (R2008), IEEE Standard Terms for Reporting and Analyzing Outage Occurrences and Outage States of Electrical Transmission Facilities, which is intended to aid the electric power industry in reporting and analyzing outage occurrences of transmission facilities.

Another standard, IIEE Std 493-2007, Recommended Practice for the Design of Reliable Industrial and Commercial Power Systems (Gold Book), presents the fundamentals of reliability analysis applied to the planning and design of industrial and commercial electric power distribution systems. And in the area of nuclear power, a standard from ANSI member and accredited standards developer CSA Group, CSA N290.11-13 - Requirements for reactor heat removal capability during outage of nuclear power plants, sets forth requirements for reactor heat removal capability during outage of nuclear power plants.

Americans can take further action on September 30, which is recognized as America's PreparAthon! Day, by downloading free resources for preparedness at


Jana Zabinski

Director, Communications and Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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