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As Costs Peak from Natural Disasters, a Closer Look at Disaster Preparedness Standards


Natural disasters shattered a U.S. cost record in 2020: A new report reveals that a busy hurricane season and major forest fires in the country accounted for $95 billion dollars in losses, a major uptick from the previous year.

"Record numbers for many relevant hazards are a cause for concern, whether we are talking about the severe hurricane season, major wildfires or the series of thunderstorms in the U.S.," noted Torsten Jeworrek, member of the Board of Management of Munich RE, a reinsurance company that published the findings. "Climate change will play an increasing role in all of these hazards."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) provides an even deeper look into the disaster costs. NOAA recently reported that last year, there were 22 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect the United States. This shattered the previous annual record of 16 such events that occurred between 2011 and 2017. Such climate "events" in 2020 included one drought, 13 severe storm events, seven tropical cyclone events, and one wildfire.

Amid the surge in disasters, a number of standards can both mitigate damage and support emergency responders. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) looks at just a few of the standards that support natural preparedness: 

Standards Protect from Wind, Rain, and Support Emergency Response

Heavy rainstorms and wind are a factor in major disasters. An American National Standard (ANS), ANSI A250.13Testing and Rating of Severe Windstorm Resistant Components for Swinging Door Assemblies, details procedures for testing and establishing accurate load ratings for the components of exterior swinging door assemblies, in order to effectively protect such openings during exposure to wind speeds of up to 170 miles per hour, as commonly seen in hurricanes. The standard was published by Steel Door Institute, an ANSI member.

An international standard, ISO 15821:2007, Doorsets and Windows – Water-tightness Test under Dynamic Pressure – Cyclonic Aspects, specifies a test method for determining the water-tightness of doorsets and windows in areas that are prone to severe weather, including typhoons, hurricanes, and cyclones. The document was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 162, Doors, Windows, and Curtain Walling. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO.

Support for emergency responders is essential during any natural disaster. An ANS developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an ANSI member and audited designator is NFPA 1999-2018, Standard on Protective Clothing and Ensembles for Medical Operations. The standard provides minimum documentation, design, performance, testing, and certification requirements for new single-use and new multiple-use by emergency responders, both prior to approval at medical care facilities, and at these facilities during emergency operations. These requirements help guard against highly infectious liquid-borne pathogens that may be present in flood waters.

Access related news: Standards Support Natural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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