FEMA, ICC Join Forces to Lessen Disasters' Impact

The International Code Council and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced they'll work together to reduce the loss of lives and property in natural disasters. A memorandum of understanding calls for them to support the adoption and enforcement of disaster-resistant building safety codes. ICC develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, homes, and schools.

"Our agreement with FEMA addresses the role of first preventers -- code and fire officials who prevent harm by ensuring compliance with building safety codes before a disaster occurs," said Council Immediate Past President Steve Shapiro. "Our members also have the experience and capability to provide help to communities during those moments when skilled extra hands are needed during response and recovery from natural disasters. Code compliance and permits are vital to a community's safety."

"Hurricane Katrina taught us some valuable lessons about partnerships," said FEMA Administrator David Paulison. "Our pre-disaster partnerships are key, and this new, formalized partnership with ICC will go a long way toward making America safer. Mitigation, reducing disaster losses before events strike, is more important than ever in today's economy. Small investments now will provide big returns when disasters do strike. We're glad to be partnering with the Code Council. Bringing together all of the energy, creativity, and knowledge our two organizations represent is a big step forward in reducing America's risk profile."

The agreement calls for ICC to give direct assistance to FEMA on a range of programs designed to reduce losses during natural disasters, while FEMA will participate in ICC's code development process, using its data to aid in creating future codes that increase public safety. The two organizations have worked together before.

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