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					    Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects 

Table of Contents 
            Dedication & Introduction                              1 
            Chapter 1:  Disaster Action, Inc.                      2 
            Chapter 2:  Legal Ramifications                        2 
            Chapter 3:  Before Disaster Strikes                    3 
            Chapter 4:  Post‐Disaster Action                       5 
            Chapter 5:  Long Term Recovery                         9 
            1. Texas Disaster Action Committee and Chapter Liaisons 
            2. Texas Law Governing Declaration of a State of Disaster 
            3. Texas Law Governing a Proclamation of a State of Emergency 
            4. Texas “Good Samaritan Law” 
            5. Texas Charitable Immunity Law 
            6. DAI and DAC Structure 
            7. Call For Volunteer Samples 
            8. AIA Damage Assessment Form 
            9. Fliers and Press Releases Announcing Free Services by Volunteer Architects 
            10. Database Examples (Microsoft Excel) 
            11. Volunteer Instructions 
            12. Architect Survey (post assessments) 
            13. Houston Disaster Action Report 
                                                                        Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects    

More than anything, Disaster Action, Inc. (DAI), a subsidiary of the Texas Society of Architects (TSA), 
appreciates the thousands of volunteers who, over the last 30 years, have responded to emergencies all 
over our state with professionalism, generosity and empathy for those who have been victims of 
tornados, hurricanes, floods or fires that have plagued this State.  To serve Texans better following 
future disasters, DAI offers this handbook summarizing best practices for such emergencies, and 
dedicates it in grateful appreciation of all those architects who did so much to relieve suffering and 
ensure recovery during DAI’s first three decades. 
This Texas Handbook needs to be viewed in tandem with the AIA Handbook for Disaster Assistance 
Programs (2007), published by AIA Communities by Design. (That 29‐page document can be found at, and should be read by each chapter’s Disaster Action 
Committee (DAC) liaison.)  The national handbook highlights the leading work of several state 
components (AIA Kansas and AIA California Council, as well as TSA’s Disaster Action, Inc.) in compiling a 
well‐organized general information manual for architects undertaking disaster recovery assistance 
programs.  An attempt has been made in this document to refrain from repeating information in the AIA 
The purpose of this Handbook is to provide information specific to Texas for architects to use in bringing 
skilled, expert assistance after a disaster.  The huge and varied geography of Texas unfortunately makes 
us vulnerable to just about every possible natural disaster, and although an earthquake and hurricane 
cause different problems, the devastation and destruction to buildings is ubiquitous.  Likewise, man‐
made disasters, from chemical explosions to acts of terrorism, also damage buildings. Architects, by 
training, interest and practice have unique skills to deal with structural damage whatever its cause.  
Architects are problem‐solvers who, when presented with a specific set of circumstances, usually come 
up with numerous alternatives that can work.  For all of these reasons, there is a place for architects to 
contribute to public health and safety after disaster strikes by assessing the overall situation, counseling 
those affected, and working to rebuild a community, so it’s better than it was before the disaster.  
Disaster disrupts, makes life uncertain; the only certain thing is that there will be other disasters in 
Texas.  A disaster is not a priority until it happens, but if we are ready when a disaster strikes, architects 
can be trusted, priority participants in the recovery.  We hope that this Handbook will prepare AIA 
chapters and others for that opportunity to serve when a disaster occurs.   
                                      Chapter 1:  Disaster Action, Inc. 
In 1970, the Texas Society of Architects formally recognized the important role that architects play in 
disaster response when, respectively, Lubbock and Corpus Christi architects called for help to recover 
from a tornado (May 11, 1970) and Hurricane Celia (August 3, 1970). Disaster Action, Inc. was created to 
formalize a process whereby architects could bring their professional skills to assist communities in the 
recovery from a natural disaster, and in the long run, to begin mitigation of damages. It also fostered 
more productive relationships between TSA and disaster response organizations.  Consequently, DAI 
was able to respond effectively to a wide range of disasters from the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado to, 
most recently, Hurricane Ike. 

Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects             September 2009                                      Page 2
                                                                       Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects    

Disaster Action, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non‐profit organization incorporated in Texas in July, 1971. A TSA 
controlled subsidiary, it was created to provide a charitable mechanism through which AIA members 
and allied professionals can respond quickly and effectively to the assessment and restoration needs of 
any Texas community when its been ravaged by disaster.  According to its Articles of Incorporation, the 
DAI Board of Directors is comprised of the TSA Executive Committee.  
The Disaster Action Committee is appointed by the TSA President each year.  (Appendix 1)  The DAC was 
established to assist DAI in coordinating volunteer efforts. DAC members should be TSA member 
architects with experience in disaster recovery and who also volunteer as team leaders in their area 
when a disaster strikes. Duties of those serving on DAC are as follows: 
    • To be a knowledgeable information resource regarding procedures and government requirements 
    • To establish a roster of Disaster Action volunteers in their communities 
    • To assist in organizing a Disaster Action team when needed  
    • To acquaint his or her chapter with DAI and its ability to help when disaster strikes. 
Assisting the DAC in its efforts to organize local volunteers are Chapter Liaisons in each of the 17 local 
AIA components in Texas.  (See Appendix 1) These liaisons should be TSA members who are genuinely 
interested in the role architects can or should take in the recovery process, people who can assist DAC in 
developing a roster of experienced architects in each chapter who would be willing to serve the 
community should a disaster strike.    
DAI’s experience, contacts and legal authority are all crucial in a rapid response to disaster.  It is an 
immediate source of information and volunteer training, and a secondary source for creating a 
statewide call for volunteers.  If a disaster strikes your area, DAI should be among the first telephone 
calls you make. The number is the same as the TSA Headquarters number, 512/478‐7386.  Ask for the 
TSA staffer who works with DAI. 
                                   Chapter 2:  Legal Ramifications 
In Texas, being a good citizen and volunteering to help victims of declared disasters (See Appendix 2) or 
states of emergency (See Appendix 3) can still carry potential liabilities unfortunately. To protect 
yourself, know the Texas laws that exists for architects, specifically, and volunteers generally, before 
embarking on the volunteerism path: 
     • Good Samaritan Law (See Appendix 4) 
     • Charitable Immunity and Liability Law (See Appendix 5) 
Good Samaritan Law 
In 2007, the Texas Society of Architects successfully passed a “Good Samaritan” law for architects and 
engineers who volunteer during a declared disaster or state of emergency.  In summary, it provides that 
“if an architect provides architectural services for free to a victim during a declared disaster or state of 
emergency, at the request of a public official, relating to a building or structure,” the architect is immune 
from civil damages (including personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other loss), unless 
the action of the architect involved gross negligence or wanton, willful or intentional misconduct.  This 
does not mean that an architect cannot be sued, but ultimately, even if a suit is filed, the architect will 
not be held liable, unless there is evidence of grossly negligent or willful misconduct.  

Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects            September 2009                                      Page 3
                                                                       Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects    

Charitable Immunity and Liability Law 

As possible additional protection for architects, a Texas law exists for volunteers of 501(c)(3) 
organizations.  This law, while laudable, raises many questions about what is required to trigger the 
protection.  Nevertheless, as a volunteer of Disaster Action Inc., which is a subsidiary 501(c)(3) 
organization of TSA, the law may provide additional protections to you. In relevant part, it states that:  
          “… a volunteer of a charitable organization is immune from civil liability for any act 
           or omission resulting in death, damage, or injury if the volunteer was acting in the 
           course and scope of the volunteer’s duties or functions….” 
This immunity from liability does not apply to acts or omissions that are “intentional, willfully negligent, 
or done with conscious indifference or reckless disregard for the safety of others.”  
The important thing for you, the volunteer, to know is that, if you are volunteering through Disaster 
Action, Inc., you may have additional protections afforded to you should you be sued. So, when you’re 
filling out forms and/or signing assessments, please be sure that you note in writing that your work is 
being conducted under the auspices of Disaster Action, Inc. or another 501(c)(3) charitable Texas 
                                    Chapter 3:  Before Disaster Strikes 
DAI, as previously noted, has a list of essential and initial contact people throughout the state who are 
part of the Texas‐wide organization. These people are committed and trained and can often be available 
on short notice, even if they are located outside of a disaster area. Keep TSA phone numbers and 
contact names handy. It may be that someone outside of your chapter area is the most appropriate 
person to get the ball rolling.  
5‐7 Days Prior to a Forecast Disaster  
You should have a roster of local architects in place at all times, anyone willing to assist as a volunteer. 
Be sure you have cell phone numbers, as well as the usual contact numbers.  This group should be your 
Local Disaster Response Team, willing to come together quickly PRIOR to a storm or other event that 
can be forecast in advance. Call a meeting as soon as an impending disaster is announced and appoint a 
lead person for the specific disaster. At that meeting, get information from everyone about their 
evacuation plans and alternative contact numbers. The group should get as much information as 
possible from local media, websites, etc., about probable destruction.  Your local Disaster Action 
Committee Chapter liaison should serve on this Local Disaster Response Team. (See Appendix 1 to 
review the roster for the person’s contact information in your Chapter; see Appendix 6 to review the DAI 
structure chart of volunteers.) 

Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects            September 2009                                      Page 4
                                                                     Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects    

DAI will send a Disaster Action Committee member (hereinafter referred to as “DAC representative”) to 
your area as soon as possible to help in setting up lines of communication and beginning the process of 
documenting what needs to be done, as well as what can be done.  Be in touch with TSA as soon as it 
appears that your area might be hit.  Architects in a disaster area will have to deal with their families’ 
safety and personal property first before they can adequately fill the subsequent volunteer role.  
Disaster Action Chapter Liaisons are charged with initiating and maintaining contact with the Emergency 
Management Coordinators in the cities of their chapters. This is one of the reasons why the Disaster 
Action liaison for your chapter should serve on your Local Disaster Response Team. It’s also a good idea 
to have a reliable contact with someone from your Mayor’s office, building inspection office, or other 
city official with whom you can communicate.  This is crucial when it comes to disseminating accurate 
information, including the declaration of disaster areas. Your DAC representative will help establish 
communications at the state level, but each chapter should have someone who is in local government 
on the ground with whom it will work.   
Gather and maintain up‐to‐date maps of the area that can be used to (a) track neighborhoods that 
might suffer the most extensive damage, (b) identify possible sites to place fliers about the assistance 
program later, and (c) assist in organizing assessments geographically.   
Whatever the needs after a disaster may be, they will surely cost money not allocated in a chapter’s 
budget. (See Appendix 13 for example budget items you may or may not need, depending on the size of 
your chapter, the extent of the disaster and your resources and for some job descriptions of people you 
may need to consider hiring) Create a list of funding options such as local foundations, charities, 
philanthropists, businesses, other AIA chapters, etc.  Even though you may not know what you will need 
prior to the disaster, having names, email addresses, and phone numbers easily accessible helps save 
valuable time and energy. Contacts should include engineers and contractors who have been supportive 
of the chapter. They will be helpful for in‐kind donations, as well as financial support for whatever 
project is undertaken after disaster strikes. Extension of community good will be paramount before, 
during, and after the disaster. This includes grateful Thank You’s for cooperation and moral support, in 
addition to actual funding.  
The length of time that your assessment program will operate should also be decided at the outset. 
People need to know how long they have to request and expect assessments. The time frame of your 
program will depend on funding, the extent of the disaster, and the number of volunteers you have. 
Remember you can always extend the program, if there is still more work to be done.  

Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects          September 2009                                      Page 5
                                                                      Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects    

                                           Chapter 4:  Post‐Disaster 
You will have approximately one week after a disaster to get organized and determine the scope of your 
program. Architects are not first responders, and initially need to stay out of the way. First responders 
are emergency medical personnel, National Guard and law enforcement, fire departments, power 
company workers, etc. Until an area has been declared safe for return, stay away! 
Office and Project Director 
The first decision to make is whether a separate disaster action office is needed. Coordination of 
disaster response is not business‐as‐usual for anyone including a chapter office and staff, and it is 
strongly recommended that you have a Project Director, paid if you have the money or volunteer. (See 
Appendix 13 for Potential Job Needs).  This person should be the point person for all activities, training 
and communications. The Local Response Team will have to determine the level of staffing needed. If 
you decide to set up an office, you will more than likely be able to find donated space and furniture. 
You should install phone lines, a phone and IT cabling as soon as possible.  Most people will have a lap‐
top available, but if a personal computer is not available, refurbished laptops and printers are very 
affordable.  Office supplies and other equipment and supplies for volunteers (listed below) will probably 
need to be purchased. As soon as you get an office up and staffed, a call for volunteers (Appendix 7) 
should be issued and a volunteer organizational system should be created. (Appendix 6)  You should also 
create a database to help you organize the assessments that are being assigned and/or have been 
completed. (See Appendix 10 for a sample.)  Be aware that this office will be temporary, and that 
turning off phone lines, returning donated items, and having a policy of how to respond to the public 
once the program is terminated will be issues that must be addressed by the end of the assessment 
Office Supplies/Equipment You Might Need: 
         • Pens 
         • Assessment forms from National (Appendix 8. There are a couple of versions in existence. 
             DAI prefers to use the “Check Box” forms, which is the older version.)  
         • Notepads 
         • Post‐its 
         • Highlighters 
         • Filing system / folders 
         • Marker Board / Markers & Eraser 
Volunteer Supplies You Might Need:  
         • Assessment forms and pens 
         • Clipboards 
         • Maps of the area 
         • Digital cameras 

Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects           September 2009                                      Page 6
                                                                       Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects    

         •    Flash lights 
         •    Tape measures 
         •    Pocketknives 
         •    Hammers 
         •    First aid kits 
         •    Disposable face masks 
         •    Goggles 
         •    Hardhats 
Volunteers: Step‐by‐Step 
         1.  Find a volunteer training site and establish a date, in coordination with your Disaster 
              Action Committee representative, for the initial training. Be prepared to accommodate 
              groups of 40 ‐ 50 for these initial sessions.  
         2. It is crucial to engage local officials from the beginning; invite them to participate in the 
              training sessions. 
         3. Set up Excel spread sheets in advance for a volunteer database.  (Appendix 10) 
         4. Send out a call for volunteers to all members, firm staffs, local architecture schools, affiliate 
              members and friends.  [See Appendix 7 for a sample.]  This is most effectively done through 
              email and social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)  While the person who signs the 
              forms must be a Texas registered architect, teams of at least two people are preferable, and 
              the second team member can be a student, intern, engineer, contractor, etc.  So try to sign 
              up as many volunteers as possible; you can assign teams later.  
         5. Order Damage Assessment Forms from AIA [Appendix 8]. 
Trained volunteers from outside of your area, even out‐of‐state, will want to help.  How much help you 
can use from these out‐of‐town people will depend on the severity of the disaster, the number of 
volunteers available locally, whether those from out‐of‐state have reciprocal legislative permission to 
work in the area, and most crucially, whether your program can afford to reimburse those volunteers for 
travel and lodging. You should be prepared with an answer for out‐of‐town volunteers, particularly 
those from out‐of‐state.  DAI staff, through TSA, should be able to help you answer questions of liability 
coverage and applicability of laws to out‐of‐state architects, but your local Disaster Response Team will 
have to make other decisions such as reimbursement policies. The question might also arise as to 
whether the chapter can or will pay for gas or other expenses. Generally however, local volunteers are 
happy to donate not only their time, but also the associated costs of doing the volunteer work.  
Training Sessions 
The initial training session should be conducted by an experienced person who serves, or has served, on 
the DAC. The class will last about two (2) hours and consists of an overview of the disaster, a PowerPoint 
pertaining to working as a volunteer after a disaster where both technical and emotional assistance will 

Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects            September 2009                                      Page 7
                                                                      Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects    

be required. You will be taught what to look for and how, and given step‐by‐step instructions for filling 
in assessment forms, including how to record a variety of problems and circumstances. The training 
sessions will be tailored to the type of problems you will likely encounter. In addition to this 2‐hour 
training, at the beginning of each day when volunteers go out, another review or “mini training session” 
should take place for team members who might have missed the initial training and to answer any 
questions about particular assignments. (See Appendix 12 that provides an overview of important points 
and tips for volunteers.)  Lastly, included in your daily training sessions should be some coverage and 
reference to other local concerns relating to, for example, permitting or preservation issues. Be sure 
you’ve checked in with your city officials and the Texas Historic Commission, as they may have materials 
/ flyers that the architect‐volunteers should be considering and should be disseminating to homeowners 
regarding their rebuilding efforts. 
Tell the World 
Once you have a stable of committed, trained volunteers, you can begin to advertise the program. Of 
course, some of this can and should be done simultaneously, but be sure you don’t have a rash of 
people calling and being frustrated, because trained volunteers are not available. To get the word out to 
the community, you should use a variety of methods. Create fliers [See Appendix 9 for sample fliers and 
press releases] that can be circulated at FEMA sites, grocery stores, home improvement and hardware 
stores, and municipal sites such as city hall, libraries, recreation centers, or wherever you can get people 
to agree to hand them out. Your local Bar Association may also be running a legal aid assistance program 
for disaster victims, so contact them to help distribute your fliers too.  Most of those you will help will 
not have computers up and running, although they may have cell phones, so use as many social and 
networking media tools as possible: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You should have dedicated phone 
line(s) for people to call in to schedule assessments. Again, set up Excel spread sheets to keep track of 
those who need help. 
The most effective kind of help, established by decades of experience of other architects throughout the 
country is the AIA building assessment program.  Limiting the assessment to single‐family houses has 
been found to be the most manageable way to conduct such a program. Large commercial and 
institutional buildings usually have their own architects who are called in and paid, so it is sensible to 
limit volunteer efforts to helping those who have no other resources. Assessment forms can be ordered 
from AIA.   
Once you have organized databases for volunteers and those requesting help you should begin as soon 
as possible sending volunteers into the field.  Your program should require that the homeowner be 
present during the evaluation of their home.   
Volunteers should wear boots, jeans / work clothes and take the following things with them: 
          • Assessment forms and pens 

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         •    Clipboard 
         •    Your pocket card from the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners or your driver’s license 
              and other identification (AIA membership card) 
         •    Map of the area 
         •    Mobile phone 
         •    Digital camera 
         •    Flash light 
         •    Tape measure 
         •    Pocketknife 
         •    Hammer 
         •    First aid kit 
         •    Disposable facemasks 
         •    Goggles 
         •    Hardhat 
         •    Gloves 
Although your business card may be an easy form of identification you can leave with the owner, it is a 
violation of the AIA code of professional ethics for any architect to use his or her status as a volunteer 
to market professional services. Also, it’s important to remember that Texas’ Good Samaritan law 
(Appendix 4) does not protect you if you are perceived to be soliciting business or expecting some 
business in the future. You should make this clear to the homeowner — you are there as a volunteer, 
but if they need an architect to help with their rebuilding effort, they will have to engage someone else.
    • An architect should never give any kind of estimate for repairs, despite the fact that you will 
         frequently encounter this question. This will also be stressed during training. You are there to 
         tell them what is wrong, not what it will cost to fix it. The local municipality may also have 
         information on codes, repairs, green strategies for rebuilding, etc. that they will want you to 
         distribute for them.  Leave one copy of your completed form with the owner, and offer to 
         email them photographs after you have downloaded them.   
In addition to properly filling in and returning assessment forms, volunteers must send in digital 
photographs, which are an important part of the assessment report. Volunteers should turn in their 
completed assessment forms and photographs at the end of the day of the assessment, if possible. One 
copy is intended to be given to the local Permitting and/or Code enforcement office to help in 
processing permits for repairs.  

After assessments have been completed, it is extremely important that paperwork is turned in and 
someone is designated to enter critical data from the assessment forms into a database, so that 
recordkeeping is as seamless and accurate as possible. This daily record‐keeping will ensure that the 
program can be reviewed, analyzed and improved upon to provide the best response in future disasters 

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to our communities and can assist in developing future updated versions of this Handbook. This 
recordkeeping is also critical to maintaining and building future funding requests by providing potential 
donors with hard data that supports the merits of the program.  (See Appendix 10 for a sample of the 
content for a database that could be used.) 

Architect surveys, during and after the program, are another important consideration for local disaster 
assistance programs. Knowing how architects viewed the experience, what can be done to improve the 
volunteer experience and finding out who else might be out there interested in volunteering are all 
critical questions to be surveyed.  (See Appendix 7 for a sample) 

Lastly, don’t forget to thank your volunteers and donors.  


Volunteering in response to a disaster can be one of the most fulfilling and gratifying experiences in an 
architect’s career.  The free assistance you provide homeowners during such a devastating time in their 
lives is invaluable. While your primary purpose for meeting with homeowners is technical in nature, 
don’t discount the emotional support you can also provide. These victims have just suffered losses – 
sometimes small, in the best‐case scenario, and sometimes overwhelmingly large, in the worst‐case 
scenario. Their emotions are raw and will likely still be in shock when you’re meeting with them, trying 
to absorb and process the damage and losses they’ve experienced personally and through their 
interactions with neighbors. Keep in mind that your free damage assessment is probably the one 
unbiased professional opinion these victims will encounter. During the process of rebuilding, they will 
likely be approached by a variety of other interested parties like contractors, subcontractors, 
homebuilders, government programs, and insurance adjusters—all of whom may have a financial 
interest in the outcome of each homeowner’s decisions. You, on the other hand, provide these victims 
with a big picture unbiased assessment that arms them with important knowledge regarding the extent 
of damage to their homes. By arming them with knowledge from a licensed professional, you’re 
empowering them to negotiate and navigate through a rebuilding process that is not always friendly and 
easy to understand.  

Thank you for volunteering for Disaster Assistance, Inc.  We hope your experience is as positive as we 
anticipate it will be.  


                                      Chapter 5:  Long Term Recovery 
The long term recovery of an area devastated by a disaster is focused on rebuilding.  One of the keys to success in 
the rebuilding process is the involvement of architects in the opportunity for change offered by the event.  Long 
term comprehensive planning, enhancing the physical fabric of the neighborhoods and community, and the 
potential for regulatory change to mitigate future disasters are among the elements of successful long term 
recovery.  The AIA Handbook for Disaster Assistance Programs outlines in detail the challenges and opportunities 
for architects in supporting the communities impacted by disasters. 

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Appendix 1                   Texas Disaster Action Committee and Chapter Liaisons                                                    

TSA Disaster Action Committee
                                         Location                      Phone                 Email
Mark Watford, Chair                      Dallas                        (214) 528-9827
Alan Roberts                             Tyler                         (903) 534-0995
Stacey Mincey                            Lubbock                       (806) 473-2200
Thom Robey                               San Antonio                   (210) 224-6900
Dohn LaBiche                             Beaumont                      (409) 860-0197
Vincent Hauser                           Austin                        (512) 452-3041

TSA Disaster Action Committee (which is referenced in the DAI bylaws and called "DAC") is a committee within
TSA, not within DAI. DAI is a separate subsidiary entity (non-profit 501(c)3) of TSA, with TSA Executive
Committee forming the Board of DAI.

DAC was created to assist DAI in coordinating its volunteer efforts. DAC is made up of architects with experience
in disaster recovery who volunteer as team leaders in the area where disaster has struck.

DAC Chapter Liaisons
Grady Cozby                                         Abilene            (325) 676-5829
Dana Williams                                       Amarillo           (806) 376-8199
Meeta Morrison                                      Austin             (512) 347-7098
Vincent Hauser                                      Austin             (512) 452-3041
Tom Parker                                          Brazos             (979) 574-7489
James Boggs                                         Corpus Christi     (361) 826-3798
Lou Simmons                                         Dallas             (903) 821-0646
Geoffrey Wright                                     El Paso            (915) 533-3777
Tommy Stewart                                       Ft. Worth          (817) 614-0682
Dan Bankhead                                        Houston            (713) 868-3121
Marta Salinas-Hovar                                 LRGV               (956) 323-5648
Robert Nanz                                         Lubbock            (806) 473-2200
Brian Phillips                                      Northeast TX       (903) 592-0728
Charles John                                        San Antonio        (210) 299-1500
Paul Thibodeaux                                     Southeast TX       (409) 719-7102
Grant Dudley                                        Waco               (254) 776-8380
Timothy McClure                                     West Texas         (432) 682-1252
Ralph Perkins                                       Wichita Falls      (940) 767-1421

Chapter liaison is a member in each chapter who is genuinely interested in the role architects play in the process
of recovery and who can assist Disaster Action Committee in developing a roster of experienced architects in
each Chapter who would be willing to serve the community should a disaster strike in that chapter.

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TSA Disaster Action Team


The team is made up of volunteers on the ground in the area in which disaster has struck.
This team is assembled by DAC members with the help of DAC liaisons contemporaneous, or prior to, the

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Appendix 2                   Texas Law Governing Declaration of a State of Disaster                                           

    (a) The governor by executive order or proclamation may declare a state of disaster if the governor 
         finds a disaster has occurred or that the occurrence or threat of disaster is imminent. 
    (b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the state of disaster continues until the governor: 
      (1)  finds that: 
                    (A)  the threat or danger has passed; or 
                    (B)  the disaster has been dealt with to the extent that emergency conditions no  
                             longer exist; and 
      (2)  terminates the state of disaster by executive order. 
    (c) A state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the governor. The 
         legislature by law may terminate a state of disaster at any time. On termination by the 
         legislature, the governor shall issue an executive order ending the state of disaster. 
    (d) An executive order or proclamation issued under this section must include: 
      (1)  a description of the nature of the disaster; 
      (2)  a designation of the area threatened; and 
      (3)  a description of the conditions that have brought the state of disaster about or made  
                possible the termination of the state of disaster. 
    (e)  An executive order or proclamation shall be disseminated promptly by means intended to bring 
         its contents to the attention of the general public. An order or proclamation shall be filed 
         promptly with the division of emergency management, the secretary of state, and the county 
         clerk or city secretary in each area to which it applies unless the circumstances attendant on the 
         disaster prevent or impede the filing. 
           Acts 1987, 70th Leg., chi. 147, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. 

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Appendix 3                   Texas Law Governing a Proclamation of a State of Emergency                                      

On application of the chief executive officer or governing body of a county or municipality during an 
emergency, the governor may proclaim a state of emergency and designate the area involved. For the 
purposes of this section an emergency exists in the following situations: 
        (1)  a riot or unlawful assembly by three or more persons acting together by use of force or 
        (2)  if a clear and present danger of the use of violence exists; or 
        (3)  a natural or man‐made disaster. 
        Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 147, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. 

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Appendix 4                                      Texas “Good Samaritan Law”                                                      

    (a) This section applies only to a licensed or registered professional who provides architectural or 
         engineering services if the services: 
         (1)  are authorized, as appropriate for the professional, in: 
                   (A)  Chapter 1001, Occupations Code; 
                   (B)  Chapter 1051, Occupations Code; 
                   (C)  22 T.A.C. Part 6 (Texas Board of Professional Engineers), Chapter 137 (Compliance  
                            and Professionalism); and 
                   (D)  22 T.A.C. Part 1 (Texas Board of Architectural Examiners), Chapter 1 (Architects),  
                            Subchapter H (Professional Conduct); 
         (2)  subject to Subsection (d), are provided voluntarily and without compensation or the   
                   expectation of compensation; 
         (3)  are in response to and provided during the duration of a proclaimed state of emergency  
                   under Section 433.001, Government Code, or a declared state of disaster under   
                   Section 418.014, Government Code; 
         (4)  are provided at the request or with the approval of a federal, state, or local public official  
                   acting in an official capacity in response to the proclaimed state of emergency or  
                   declared disaster, including a law enforcement official, public safety official, or building  
                   inspection official; and 
         (5)  are related to a structure, building, roadway, piping, or other system, either publicly or  
                   privately owned. 
    (b)  A licensed or registered professional who provides the services to which this section applies is 
         not liable for civil damages, including personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or 
         other loss related to the professional's act, error, or omission in the performance of the services, 
         unless the act, error, or omission constitutes: 
                   (1)  gross negligence; or 
                   (2)  wanton, willful, or intentional misconduct. 
    (c)  This section does not apply to a licensed or registered professional who is at the scene of the 
         emergency to solicit business or perform a service for compensation on behalf of the 
         professional or a person for whom the professional is an agent. 
    (d)  The entitlement of a licensed or registered professional to receive compensation for services to 
         which this section applies does not determine whether the services provided by the professional 
         were provided voluntarily and without compensation or the expectation of compensation. 
         Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 132, Sec. 1, eff. May 18, 2007. 

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Appendix 5                                      Texas Charitable Immunity Law                                                    

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Appendix 6                                      DAI and DAC Structure                                                            

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Appendix 7                                      CALL FOR VOLUNTEER Samples  

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Appendix 8                                      AIA Damage Assessment Form                                                      

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Appendix 9         Fliers and Press Releases Announcing Free Services by Volunteer Architects                               

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Appendix 10                                     Database Examples (Microsoft Excel)                                             

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Appendix 11                                     Volunteer Instructions                                                            

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                                         Volunteer Training
    •    This information is reviewed with volunteers at 8 am the day of their service.
    •    Each architect will have between 4-6 appointments per day.
    •    Architects are sent in teams of two, one of whom MUST be a Texas registered architect.
    •    A Texas registered Architect must sign the form

         1.    Thank volunteers
         2.    Make sure they have 2 phone numbers to contact office/staff if difficulties arise
         3.    Review the Assessment Form and answer questions
         4.    Pass out Volunteer Folders which contain
                    a) Schedule of appointment times
                    b) Suggested itinerary (volunteers may alter if they wish)
                    c) Google maps to the assessment sites
                    d) AIA Assessment forms
                    e) Texas Historical Commission historic home information
                    f) City of Houston permitting information (give out even if outside the City of Houston
                        and tell homeowner to check with their own municipality)
                    g) Green Home Checklist from the Green Building Resource Center
         5.    Architect Survey to be returned with completed Assessment Form
         6.    With a digital camera take at least one exterior photo to identify the house, and as many
               photos as you feel necessary to document damage interior and exterior
         7.    If possible, put your photos on a disk for the office; otherwise email them
         8.    Review “A Checklist for tornado/hurricane damaged Structure Inspection”
         9.    Pass out face masks and warn volunteers to wear them in moldy situations. (If homeowners
               are asked to be present, we should be providing them with the same.)
         10.   Make sure everyone has the equipment they need.
         11.   Wish everyone good luck.


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Appendix 12                                     Architect Survey (post assessments)                               

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                                              Architect Survey
Please complete this form at the end of your assessment day and return with the folder and your completed AIA Assessment Forms.
Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

    1.    Name

    2.    What was your favorite part of the experience?

    3. What was your least favorite part of the experience?

    4. Did you have enough, too much, or too little time for each assessment?

    5. What suggestions do you have on how we can improve scheduling or training?

    6. What suggestions do you have on how the homeowner interaction/assessment can be improved?

    7. Will you suggest volunteering to a colleague? Would you to give names of others for us to
       contact about volunteering for HDA?

    8. Would you be interested in volunteering for an additional day(s)? Please indicate if you have a
       specific day/time in mind.

                                                       THANK YOU!

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Appendix 13                                     Houston Disaster Action Report

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Hurricane Ike
Hurricane Ike struck 29 Texas counties in the greater Houston area including Galveston, Bolivar
Peninsula, Beaumont and everywhere in between during the early morning hours of Saturday, September
13, 2008 after a 9-day path of destruction through the Atlantic. It has been called the third most
destructive hurricane ever to hit the United States, after Katrina (2005) and Andrew (1992), with damage
estimates of $32 billion. Approximately 138 lives were lost in the US. Winds up to 113 MPH and the eye
wall passed directly through the center of Houston producing power outages that lasted as long as a
month for some residents. On September 10 in advance of the hurricane, President George W. Bush
made an emergency declaration for Texas to make funds available for preparations and evacuations, and
by September 11, mandatory evacuations began to be ordered along the coast.

AIA Houston staff and directors evacuated and concentrated on protecting their own property and family.
Although the AIA offices were prepared with computers and phone systems unplugged and raised on
high surfaces, no advance preparations for any volunteer help from architects in the community had been

The first offer of help and concern came from Yvonne Castillo, Attorney with TSA at 10 am Monday
morning. TSA was prepared to organize assistance to firms that were unable to work in their offices (and
for a time that was most of them), which made us realize that we needed to address this situation first.
Although Downtown Houston was closed off for a week, our undamaged offices (with the exception of no
water) were on the edge and the Executive Director and President were allowed in to get organized. We
were able to find a lot of firms that could accommodate those who had lost their space. We
communicated primarily through email with our members, and since many had PDA’s (Blackberrys,
iPhones, etc), we were able to contact and match up people even in that first week.


Houston Disaster Action was organized, following past experiences of AIA in other disasters,
to assess damages to buildings to give owners both information and reassurance in dealing with
insurance adjustors and contractors. Copies of assessment forms were available for permitting
offices to speed up permitting process for repairs.

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 AIA Houston was closed for the week, but on Friday, executive committee members met in the offices for
several hours. With the help of President Brian Malarkey, Yvonne Castillo and Disaster Action Inc, by
5:00pm we had created a plan and a $100,000 budget that was sent through our Texas Directors, Ken
Ross and Jeff Potter, to the national board of directors at their meeting about to end on Saturday
morning. A letter was emailed to our Board of Directors on Saturday telling them that we had received a
commitment from AIA for up to $100,000 to immediately launch a volunteer relief and assessment effort.
By Monday we had hired a project director, and by Tuesday we had an office donation from friends at
Hines in the Chase Tower, and two other staff members for the Houston Disaster Action office, by
Wednesday we had a logo, fliers, and a call for volunteers prepared. Two weeks after Ike struck
Houston, the Houston Disaster Action office was up and running.


A Houston Disaster Action committee was formed that met weekly throughout the project:

Ken Ross, FAIA, Director, FAIA (and a member of AIA Houston)
Chris Hudson, AIA, President, TSA (and a member of AIA Houston)
Brian Malarkey, AIA, President, AIA Houston
Ian Powell, Treasurer, AIA Houston
Kathleen English, AIA, Secretary, AIA Houston
Dan Bankhead, President-elect, AIA Houston
Andy Icken, Deputy Director of Public Works, City of Houston
Sheila Blake, Code Administrator, City of Houston
Susan McMillian, Office of Public Works, City of Houston
Rey de la Reza, FAIA, Board member, Houston Architecture Foundation
Kimberly Hickson, AIA, Board member, AIA Houston
Antoine Bryant, Administrator, Houston Disaster Action
Mat Wolff, Membership Coordinator, AIA Houston
Barrie Scardino, Executive Director, AIA Houston

Yvonne Castillo, TSA and Charles Harper, Disaster Action Inc, TSA were not on the local committee, but
were included in all correspondence and reports.

Our local committee made a number of decisions right away. One was to limit the program to 3
months. We quickly learned from DAI that for our volunteers to be protected under the Texas Good
Samaritan Law, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization had to administer the program. We had a
choice of using Disaster Action, Inc. or our own Houston Architecture Foundation. Our committee
decided to keep the operation local, since the staff was working directly under the Executive Director of
AIA Houston (who is also the Executive Director of the Foundation). This allowed us to set up and
administer the payroll and monitor other expenses. The Director of HDA received $14,500, no benefits;
the volunteer Coordinator received $9,500 no benefits; and the Receptionist received $7,500 no benefits.
All three worked 40+ hours per week for 12 weeks. All funds received from AIA, and other supporters
were transferred to Houston Architecture Foundation accounts and the program was administered
through that non-profit corporation for AIA Houston.

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The donated office space fitted with donated furniture was large but difficult to access, so it was
determined that volunteers would meet and be given assignments at the AIA office. We purchased three
used laptops and one used printer and rented a copy machine. Three roll-over phone lines (one 800
number) were adequate, but should have had the ability to transfer calls. Most office supplies were

Following past experience, we tried to work through FEMA to distribute our information at their centers.
Even personal visits to these sites did not produce any cooperation. We finally reached the state FEMA
coordinator who would not allow us to distribute our fliers. However, the Houston Bar Association
(HBA), which was allowed on the FEMA sites, agreed to distribute them for us. HBA turned out to be an
important ally in Houston Disaster Action, not only helping get the word out but remaining available to
answer questions. We also arranged for free announcements on local radio stations giving out our phone
numbers to call for assessments. We had a local phone number and an 800 number because our area
(and the area hit by Ike) extends beyond Houston area codes. This part of the process was not what it
should have been. More emphasis should have been placed on getting the word out in affected
neighborhoods. We projected that we would have close to 1,000 requests for assessments, but the
program only had half that. This was, though, a good thing because we could not have handled that
number in the 3-month time period for lack of a sufficient number of volunteers. Several groups of
architects from other states wanted to volunteer, but we did not have the funds to pay their transportation
and accommodations (something we did not realize in our initial budgeting would be expected) and also
the Texas Good Samaritan Law only covered registered Texas architect-volunteers.

The large geographical area hit by Ike was divided into color-coded zones to easily track request for
assessment calls and volunteer assignments. Antoine Bryant, project administrator organized the
system and trained volunteers; Tara Thomas, volunteer coordinator, assigned volunteers, prepared
maps, and kept a volunteer database; and Shannon Hall fielded all telephone calls and worked with a lot
of distraught homeowners. Mandy Loughman, graphic designer at AIA Houston, created the logo and all
forms and announcements. Nicole Laurent, Jill Sales, and Courtney Tuff participated on a daily basis
through the assessments and beyond answering queries, getting supplies to people who needed them,
and backing up the 3-person HDA staff. Mat Wolf was the liaison staff member who set up the temporary
office donated by Hines in the Chase Tower, ordered equipment, and saw that donated furniture donated
by Debner + Company was delivered (and then picked up again after the program was over). These
people allowed the volunteers to do their job in an orderly and productive fashion.

Assessments were completed by the end of December 2008 (with a few exceptions), and the office in
Chase Tower was closed. Antoine Bryant was employed for an additional three months to rewrite the
Texas Architects Handbook for Disaster Assistance, compile and write a final report on Houston Disaster
Action and work as an AIA liaison to activities in Galveston. Unfortunately the work of these three months
was apparently lost. A charrette was organized during this period in Galveston to help with rebuilding
efforts there. Chula Ross Sanchez, Assoc. AIA, has written a report on the rebuilding of Galveston, which
will be published in AIA Houston’s Green Works 2 book to be available the end of October, 2009.


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543 requests for damage assessments were received, however there were 155 cancellations due to
several factors: the requests were for houses essentially no longer standing (particularly on the Bolivar
Peninsula); owners did not show up so assessments were cancelled; or owners completed repairs before
our volunteers could get there. 144 volunteers participated in the assessment programs. An average of
6.5 houses/day were seen in approximately 60 days by pairs of volunteers. Teams that went to Galveston
or Bolivar usually assessed only 4-5 houses per day because of travel distance involved (up to 2 hours
each way).

Damages were divided into 5 categories from minor to severe for reporting purposes: Minor (72), Minor-
Moderate (21), Moderate (207), Moderate-Severe (49), and Severe (174). Seven assessment areas were
identified Beaumont (1%), Bolivar (5%), Galveston (18%), and the Bay Area mainland near Galveston
(23%), Houston inside Loop 610 (8%), Houston between Loop 610 and Beltway 8 (26%), and Greater
Houston (19%). These figures show that 47% of our assessments were essentially done in areas close to
the Gulf coast and 53% were done in the greater Houston area. We know the worst damages were along
the coast, and, had our fliers and information been better disseminated in those areas, those figures
would have been much higher.

Although the budget of $110,000 ($80,000 from AIA, $10,000 from the Boston Society of Architects,
$10,000 from AIA New York, and $10,000 from AIA Houston) was exhausted, AIA Houston donated
extended in-kind staff time and materials. With donations of office space, internet connection, furniture,
and other items a realistic total budget would have been about $150,000. We did not reimburse
volunteers for gas or other expenses, which could conceivably have been added to the in-kind budget.
This was an expensive program to benefit the public of the Houston-Galveston area, but everyone
involved felt a sense of purpose and pride that AIA Houston jumped in and undertook the program with
considerable help from others. Everyone who completed a report form at the end of their day of
assessments said they would recommend the program to others and found it to be a rewarding
experience they would sign up for again. We did not have a follow-up procedure to get feedback from
homeowners, which we should have done.

Perhaps the most important thing accomplished by this program was the opportunity to write a new Texas
Architects Disaster Assistance Handbook. A final draft is ready and is included in this submission. The
procedures put in place by Houston Disaster Action are the basis for this new Handbook. We know that it
is not if, but when another disaster will strike in Texas, and we feel that the efforts and funding were well
worth it. The outpouring of support and thanks that came more informally from the Mayor’s office in the
City of Houston all the way to a single distraught homeowner was overwhelming.

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This Disaster Assistance Handbook for Texas Architects is the result of two initiatives.  The first is the 
“Handbook for the Disaster Assistance Program” (1999) written by Charles Harper, FAIA, and edited by 
Rob Clark, AIA (2008).  Some of the content of this Handbook has been updated and reorganized from 
that effort.  Yvonne Castillo, General Counsel of TSA and David Lancaster, TSA Executive Vice President, 
continuously monitor and interpret legal challenges involved in setting up local disaster response 
efforts, and are the staff members most involved with this publication. Mark Watford, FAIA, of Dallas 
chairs TSA Disaster Action Committee and generously gave of his time benefitting this document. 
The second initiative that contributed to the Handbook was the Houston Disaster Action experience 
following Hurricane Ike in September 2008, organized by AIA Houston.  Immediate funding from 
National AIA allowed for a three‐month program for assessing damaged residences, as well as a 
subsequent three‐month effort to document the Houston‐Galveston area effort and collaboration with 
DAI on this handbook.  2008 AIA Houston President Brian Malarkey, AIA, and Executive Director Barrie 
Scardino initiated Houston Disaster Action and have seen it through the final report [Appendix 13].  Ken 
Ross, FAIA, and Jeff Potter, FAIA, Texas’ AIA Regional Directors shepherded Houston’s request for 
funding, and acted as advisors throughout the project; Christine McEntee, AIA Executive Vice President, 
assisted in setting up the HDA program. The Boston Society of Architects and AIA New York also 
provided essential funding during the initial assessment program.  The lessons learned from this, Texas’ 
most recent disaster, Hurricane Ike, in which architect volunteers were very active, are incorporated 
into this Handbook.

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Description: Texas Good Samaritan Law Non Profit Volunteer document sample