Building Science Disaster Support Program

For more than 30 years, the Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) Program has been drawing on the combined resources of a federal, state, local, and private sector partnership. The MAT Program allows FEMA to assemble and quickly deploy teams of investigators. These investigators evaluate the performance of buildings and related infrastructure in response to the effects of natural and man-made hazards. The teams conduct field investigations at disaster sites; work closely with local and state officials to develop recommendations for improvements in building design and construction; and develop recommendations concerning code development and enforcement, and mitigation activities that will lead to greater resistance to hazard events.

This timeline shows the MAT deployments from 1993 to 2022,

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FEMA publishes the observations and recommendations of a Mitigation Assessment Team in reports. The award-winning MAT Program, operated by a consulting engineering firm under contract to FEMA, has been covered by the national media and featured in numerous technical and professional journals.


The resources below have been developed by the Building Science Branch of FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration. They cover natural and man-made hazards.

Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Marshall Fire Building Performance, Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance (FEMA P-2320)

The objective of this MAT report is to provide actionable recommendations to improve residential building performance under wildfire conflagration conditions. It describes the MAT’s observations during the field deployments, draws conclusions based on those observations, and provides recommendations for actions that property owners can take to help increase the resiliency of their homes and neighborhoods to future wildfires. It also provides recommendations that local government officials, planners, builders, design professionals, and homeowners' associations can implement to reduce the potential impacts of wildfires on communities and improve their resilience.

Hurricane Ian Recovery Advisory 3: Reducing Water Intrusion Through Windows and Doors

This Recovery Advisory provides important recommendations to reduce water intrusion through and around windows and doors due to wind-driven rain during extreme wind events.

Hurricane Ian Recovery Advisory 2: Reducing “Loss of Utility” Impacts to Critical Facilities.

Description: This Recovery Advisory is intended for owners and operators of critical facilities; architects and engineers who design them; various state, local, tribal, and territorial planners; and emergency managers who deal with critical facilities whether in support of emergency preparedness, planning, response, and disaster recovery efforts or administration of mitigation grants and operations.

Hurricane Ian Recovery Advisory 1: Designing for Flood Levels Above the Minimum Required Elevation After Hurricane Ian

This Recovery Advisory addresses building damage when flood levels exceed the lowest floor, required design considerations, how high above the minimum required elevation a building should be elevated, and additional design considerations for mitigating flood damage.

Hurricane Ida in New York Technical Report 1: Building Performance: Basement Buildings and Urban Flooding

This report provides information to help New York City and similar urban areas to prepare better for future urban flooding events. The information is also useful for property owners, building managers, and design professionals.

Hurricane Ida in New York Technical Report 2: Building Performance: Egress from Floodprone Basements

This report describes the MAT’s observations related to the egress of occupants from basements flooded when the capacity of stormwater drainage systems is exceeded.

Hurricane Ida in New York Technical Report 3: Reducing the Effects of Urban Flooding in New York City

This report briefly explains the basics of rainfall runoff, urban flooding, and urban stormwater drainage systems. It gives a summary of some of New York City’s stormwater infrastructure programs and its initiatives to address urban flooding. Applying mitigation measures to stormwater drainage
systems and existing buildings can minimize the potential loss of life and injuries, and reduce property damage from future urban flooding events.

Hurricane Ida in New York Fact Sheet 1: What Building Owners and Tenants Should Know About Urban Flooding

This fact sheet describes urban flooding and how it can create unsafe conditions and damage buildings.

Hurricane Ida in New York Fact Sheet 2: Flood Warning and Inundation Mapping

This fact sheet describes how flood warning systems, flood alerts, and flood inundation products convey flood risk information.

Hurricane Ida in New York Fact Sheet 3: Understanding Stormwater Runoff in Highly Urbanized Areas

This fact sheet explains stormwater runoff, stormwater drainage systems, and ways communities manage runoff and reduce the impacts of urban flooding.

Hurricane Ida in New York Fact Sheet 4: Considering Policies and Regulations to Reduce Risks Caused by Urban Flooding

This fact sheet summarizes the recommendations from technical reports FEMA prepared after Hurricane Ida. Communities use different mechanisms to put recommendations into practice.

Marshall Fire MAT: Mitigation Strategies to Address Multi-Hazard Events

This document is intended to help planners, developers, local land management personnel and private property owners identify how wildfires interact with other natural hazards and mitigate the impact of these multi-hazard events. The information in this document can be used to guide the incorporation of site-based wildfire mitigation strategies into planning, community siting and zoning requirements. This document can also guide the adoption of proactive planning, development and maintenance strategies that can minimize future risk of multi-hazard events.

Marshall Fire MAT: Best Practices for Wildfire-Resilient Subdivision Planning

This document provides builders/contractors, planning professionals, HOAs, and local land resource managers with information about wildfire resiliency planning and open-space management policies, best practices, and procedures at subdivision- and neighborhood-scales. The intent is to prevent or limit the risk of wildfire exposures and impacts through various regulatory and policy approaches during planning and entitlement phases (e.g., fire risk assessments, wildfire impact studies, zoning, wildfire-protection planning), such that wildfire hazards and risks are appropriately considered early in the planning-design-construction life cycle of future developments.

Marshall Fire MAT: Decreasing Risk of Structure-to-Structure Fire Spread in a Wildfire

The purpose of this document is to provide recommendations to contractors and designers on new building construction that may prevent or slow the spread of a fire from structure-to-structure in densely-spaced neighborhoods.

Marshall Fire MAT: Wildfire-Resilient Detailing, Joint Systems and Interfaces of Building Components

This document provides information on ways to reduce the vulnerability of residential structures to wildfire ignition due to windborne embers, hot gases, and flames penetrating common detailing joints and building component interfaces that exist throughout the exterior envelope of a building. This document provides information on measures that builders, contractors, and other design professionals can take to “seal” gaps at joints and retrofit building components and interfaces on the exterior surfaces. While the primary focus of this document is to provide guidance on retrofitting existing residential homes, many of the recommendations for increasing wildfire resiliency of common details, joint systems, and building component interfaces would also be applicable to new construction and commercial buildings.

Marshall Fire MAT: Homeowner’s Guide to Reducing Wildfire Risk Through Defensible Space

This document provides homeowners with steps they can take now to protect their homes from loss or damage from wildfires due to vulnerabilities introduced by surrounding landscaping and other exterior features (e.g., outbuildings, sheds, furniture, and trash bins) within the homeowner’s property. The goal is to increase homeowner awareness of the key mechanisms and characteristics of Wildfire and the Wildland Urban Interface fires that can result in home ignition.

Marshall Fire MAT: Homeowner’s Guide to Reducing Risk of Structure Ignition from Wildfire

This document provides homeowners with steps they can take now to decrease the likelihood their homes will ignite due to direct flame contact, ember intrusion, or hot gases from wildfires at various physical vulnerabilities throughout the exterior envelope of the house. Specifically, it provides information about some measures that homeowners can take to address vulnerabilities at joints, gaps, vents, and attachments such as decks and fences.

Marshall Fire MAT: Homeowner's Guide to Risk Reduction and Remediation of Residential Smoke Damage

The purpose of this document is to provide recommendations to homeowners for pre-wildfire measures to help reduce the risk of smoke damage and do-it-yourself (DIY) steps that homeowners can take to remediate light to moderate smoke damage. This document also includes recommendations for selecting and monitoring a professional cleaning services contractor for heavy smoke damage.

Building the Case for Open Space (Foundations)

Developed in response to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, this guidance compares the two predominant construction foundation systems available in South Louisiana and provides greater detail regarding their costs, impacts, and advantages.

Hurricane Ida DRRA Section 1206 Implementation Case Study

Developed in response to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, this study reviews the implementation of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) Section 1206 Policy implemented after Hurricane Ida in Louisiana (DR-4611) and shares the lessons learned for future state, local, tribal, and territorial governments looking to implement this type of project.

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