What Part Does IAEI Play in Disaster Relief?

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Disasters are usually characterized by short reaction/response times, overwhelming devastation to infrastructure, and a strain on the tangible and intangible resources of the affected community.  Earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes often damage electrical resources and severely impact communities economically, financially, and socially. Decision makers at local, state, and federal levels are expected to quickly implement plans to restore order and to mitigate the aftermath of these disasters.

Unfortunately, there are often not enough trained electricians and inspectors to protect homeowners from damaged wiring and equipment, to assess the most urgent needs and to restore the local electrical system quickly.

IAEI has been particularly active in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.  The electrical industry helps homeowners and business owners identify and understand the hazards associated with water-damaged equipment, how it can cause serious fire hazards, where hidden fire hazards may be expected, how to deal with sediments and toxins and which water-damaged equipment must be replaced for their safety.

In order for IAEI to be effective in disaster relief programs, it is necessary for us to have a current disaster relief volunteer database. This will enable us to immediately respond to requests without having to take the time to build or update the database. We can then send out a disaster relief alert so that members who are committed in helping can respond on a timely basis.

Shortly after Sandy we were contacted by the state of New York to contact our members to see if they could help with the recovery effort in performing inspections on the thousands of properties that were damaged and without power. The response we received was overwhelming. Once again IAEI members and Inspection Authorities stepped up to offer their services and expertise in helping those suffering from the aftermath.

I want to personally say thank you to the hundreds that agreed to help and to let you know that I’m extremely proud to belong to such a great professional organization where members have empathy for those in need.

If you are interested in being part of the IAEI Disaster Relief Team and have a minimum of five years experience in performing electrical inspections, here is the information you need to supply us:

Name

Complete Address

Phone

Email address

Brief outline of experience

[IAEI inspector certification at the residential level is preferred, at a minimum.]

Please send the requested information to the following email address: iaei@iaei.org. Be sure to put “IAEI Disaster Relief Team” in the subject line of your email.

Aside from disaster relief, IAEI also participates in helping many others in need. For example, we learned during the Section Meetings that the Ontario Chapter makes donations to a couple of organizations that support persons recovering from electrical and burn injuries. The two organizations that were selected were Camp Bucko, which is a camp for children from 7 to 17 years of age who have serious burn injuries and St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital Burn Unit, the site of Canada’s only dedicated electrical injury rehabilitation program. Western Section supports the Gregory Kistler Treatment Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a charity that provides therapy for children regardless of the family’s ability to pay.  Southern and Eastern Sections have scholarship programs for students pursuing training in the electrical industry. Southwestern Section has annual food drives for the needy and safety programs for children at the annual Home & Garden Show.

I am sure that this list just scratches the surface, because I’ve observed that IAEI members care—deeply, unselfishly and generously. I’d appreciate if you’d share the stories of your outreaches with me. Just send them to iaei@iaei.org.  Mark the subject line:  “Charitable outreaches.”

Together we are stronger as one. Let us build on our strength.

About the Author

David Clements is CEO/Executive Director of IAEI. He has been an active IAEI member at the local, section and national levels for more than twenty-five years. He served as international board member from 1995 until 2007 when he served as our 2007 international president. In 2010, he retired after twenty-nine years with Nova Scotia Power, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as their chief electrical inspector. During his tenure as chief electrical inspector, he was a voting member on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Technical Committee on the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, a member of the Regulatory Authority Committee and member of the Canadian Advisory Committee on Electrical Safety. He has served on NFPA Smart Grid Steering Committee, Electrical Infrastructure Training Program and is presently a member of the UL Electrical Council.