Disaster Assistance Program

A nationwide network of architects to help communities before and after a disaster

Disaster Assistance Program


AIA's Disaster Assistance Program equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. As a result, architects’ disaster response processes, protocol, and training are aligned with federal frameworks.

Since 1972, the program has ensured that AIA, Chapters, and members are prepared to assist communities nationwide and internationally from leadership and volunteer roles. This strengthens AIA Component preparedness and fosters mutually beneficial relationships with jurisdictions and the larger disaster-response community.

Join the nationwide network of architects to:

  • provide technical expertise to make sound development decisions and inform local and regional planning and policy efforts
  • participate in building code development, enforcement and permitting
  • train for and share lessons learned from post-disaster building safety assessments
  • coordinate with local agencies such as the Office of Emergency Management, the Building Department and the Office of Planning
  • advocate for Good Samaritan legislation that provides liability protection for design professionals volunteering post-disaster and Portability of Licensure laws that enable out-of-state assistance

Updates from AIA's Disaster Assistance Program

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Get involved with disaster assistance

Connect with a local disaster assistance program through your state or local AIA chapter. If a local program doesn't already exist, consider spearheading one.


Disaster Assistance Handbook

The third edition of this handbook will help you understand your role in preparing for and responding to disasters.

How To

AIA Resilience and Adaptation Certificate Series

Do you want to integrate resilience into the design services your firm offers? The Resilience and Adaptation series is your answer. This exclusive multi-course series covers hazard mitigation, community resilience, and adaptation. Take all courses to learn best practices for mitigating risk for hazards, shocks, and stresses and adapting to changing conditions. Perfect for mid-career professionals.


The Safety Assessment Program

The AIA SAP training provides architects, engineers, and certified building officials with the knowledge and protocol to evaluate homes, buildings, and infrastructure in responding to post-disaster. Adapted from the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Safety Assessment Program (SAP), this seven-hour training accredits participants with the nationally recognized certification that is often required for volunteer building safety evaluators nationwide.

Good Samaritan State Statute Compendium

Good Samaritan legislation affords critical liability protection to architects providing disaster assistance.


Hazard mitigation design resources

Discover resources that can support hazard risk reduction development, design, and construction choices. Resources include risk analysis data and tools, maps, and guidelines for new and existing buildings.

How To

HURRIPLAN training

This two-day course provides professionals with the training necessary to integrate resilient community planning and building design strategies with civic and commercial projects located in hurricane prone areas.

Case Study

What can architects learn from the tornado in Joplin, Missouri?

This report details how AIA Springfield established a partnership with the city of Joplin after an EF-5 tornado tore through the town.

Disaster response

Good Samaritan laws: Critical to disaster recovery

Without Good Samaritan laws in place, a licensed architect may be exposed to questions of liability even though he or she is acting in good faith to preserve the safety of a community.

Disaster response

Two hurricanes are gone, but are my buildings safe?

The AIA Safety Assessment Program training provides specialized knowledge and technical skills to architects in order to determine if a building is safe and habitable.

Disaster response

AIA, groups meet with Capitol Hill lawmakers on resilience strategies


AIA defends sustainable design


The AIA on disaster response: Codes matter

AIA's comments to FEMA on changes to disaster assistance programs that highlight the need for resilient codes

Image credits

Disaster Assistance Program

AIA Illinois