Damage to a road caused by a 2007 flood in Minnesota. Credit: Patsy Lynch/FEMA

Washington, D.C. — The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) seeks members for a new Community Resilience Panel, part of the institute’s effort to reduce the heavy toll that natural, technological and human-caused hazards inflict on U.S. communities.

NIST will convene the first meeting of the panel on Nov. 9, 2015, at the institute’s campus in Gaithersburg, Md. Key objectives for the panel include:

  • connecting and engaging community and infrastructure-sector stakeholders at all levels to identify policy and standards-related gaps and barriers and to propose innovative solutions to improve community resilience, and
  • developing and maintaining a central repository for guidance documents, tools and reference materials to support community resilience planning and implementation.

The panel’s membership, open to all interested participants, will be organized into more than a dozen stakeholder categories to ensure balanced participation, ranging from local governments to infrastructure systems, and from building construction to insurance/re-insurance.

The panel’s launch is part of NIST’s multifaceted community resilience program, which recognizes that social and economic needs and functions should drive performance goals set for buildings and physical infrastructure systems. Planning and implementing prioritized measures to improve the performance of the built environment can strengthen resilience, especially by improving a community’s ability to quickly restore vital services.

The new panel also will inform future versions of the Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, which NIST plans to issue in September 2015. The guide will provide a practical approach to help communities to better set priorities and to allocate resources for reducing risks by improving their resilience, based on their social and economic needs, their particular hazard risks, and their buildings and infrastructure systems. In particular, the guide will help communities to:

  • develop an integrated community-level resilience plan that guides economic development, zoning and other local planning activities that impact buildings, public utilities and other infrastructure systems; and
  • develop approaches to address vulnerabilities due to interdependencies among infrastructure systems such as power, transportation, communications, and water and wastewater.

Developed with input from experts, private-sector stakeholders and government officials from across the nation, the guide details a six-step resilience-building process that every community can use and tailor to its particular circumstances.

There are no membership fees. For more information on the Community Resilience Panel, and to access a membership form, go to: www.CRPanel.org.

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