Issues & AdvocacyIssues & Advocacy
Serving the Profession Best by Preparing for the Worst
With a father and two brothers in law enforcement, Scott Eddy, AIA says public service is just part of life. Last month, Eddy, an architect in Jackson, MS, was awarded the Mississippi Presidential Citation for his exceptional work helping Mississippi architects prepare for disasters.
Mr. Eddy first became involved in disaster assistance when he was among the many architects who responded after hurricane Katrina. There, he volunteered his skills to conduct building safety assessments and determine whether damaged structures were still habitable. These assessments are essential to families who are unsure whether it’s safe to return and to emergency managers who must tally the destruction to request aid.
When he was first elected to the AIAMS board, Scott knew he wanted to help architects be better prepared the next time around. After Katrina, one of the biggest challenges was that architects didn’t know how to step in and help. So Scott teamed up with Ann Somers, member of the AIA National Disaster Assistance Committee, and Joe Blake, AIA Mississippi Executive Director and the trio began to organize a series of training sessions in the California Safety Assessment Program that would not only teach building evaluation techniques, but also the phases and functions of emergency management.
After coordinating with AIA National, they were able to bring Michael Lingerfelt, FAIA from Florida to conduct the training and members of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency were invited to see the kind of resources AIA members could provide. “Using the SAP program and having that support from AIA National was terrific and it let everyone know that we aren’t flying by the seat of our pants,” Eddy said.
However, Eddy knows that the award does not mean that his work is complete. Mississippi does not have a Good Samaritan law. After Katrina, then Governor Haley Barbour had to issue an executive order to allow for the services architects and others provided. Years later Eddy, Ms. Somers, Mr. Blake and others are still lobbying the state to determine how best to shield architect volunteers from liability.
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