To rapidly deploy credentialed volunteer SAVE Inspectors to assist SEMA, local jurisdictions and local building inspectors to determine if buildings are safe for continued occupancy and provide essential demolition, cleanup, or other related services in the event of an earthquake or other disasters, including manmade disasters.
The SAVE (Structural Assessment Visual Evaluation) Coalition was authorized by RSMo 44.023 whereby volunteer architects and engineers registered under Chapter 327, RSMo, and construction contractors, equipment dealers and other owners and operators of construction equipment may volunteer the use of their services and equipment for up to three days when activated by SEMA. The statute established the duties of SEMA to oversee, support and activate the volunteer organization, specified local government responsibility to reimburse SAVE Volunteer Inspectors’ out-of-pocket expenses and granted SAVE Volunteer Inspectors immunity from liability, except in cases of gross or willful negligence.
The purpose of the SAVE Coalition is to implement a building inspection program for disaster events such as earthquakes and other natural disasters. Following catastrophic events, unsafe buildings of all types pose serious hazards to their occupants, creating an immediate need for damage inspections throughout the affected areas. People may need to be kept from using unsafe buildings, and safe shelter must be provided for those left homeless. Regular building inspection officials may become overloaded instantly and require additional help. It is essential that qualified SAVE inspectors quickly identify structures that are safe for reentry and those that must be avoided. In some instances under SEMA’s Section 44.023 emergency volunteer program, other volunteers may be needed to assist in emergency demolition, cleanup or other related emergency services.
Credentialed Volunteers – Credentialed SAVE Volunteer Inspectors include architects or professional engineers, or certain building inspectors or skilled construction industry personnel with at least 5 years of verifiable general building design, construction contractor, or inspection experience. Other Section 44.023 SEMA Volunteers – Under this statute, other emergency volunteer participants include construction equipment dealers, owners and operators who are willing on a temporary, as needed basis to provide the use of their services and equipment (either manned or unmanned) for up to 3 days when requested. SEMA maintains contact and liaison with organizations in the state that can provide these services and equipment – including the "Plan Bulldozer" Committee of the Heavy Constructors Association of The Greater Kansas City Area, the Kansas City Chapter Associated General Contractors, and the Disaster Resource Council of Metropolitan St. Louis.
Each SAVE Volunteer Inspector must attend SAVE Coalition ATC-20 training to receive SAVE credentials. Every 3 years, each SAVE Volunteer Inspector must be recertified.
SAVE Volunteer Inspectors must attend the ATC-20 Post Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings course to receive SAVE inspector credentials and become a SAVE team member qualified to inspect disaster damaged buildings. During the course, procedures and documents are presented which promote uniformity in the rating of building damages so that different individuals examining the same building will arrive at the same conclusion about its relative safety. At the course, each SAVE inspector will receive a field manual and detailed instructions to guide their future work. Some professional organizations also award continuing education credit for completion of this course.