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Building Science - Other Hazards Publications

Many communities are at risk of other hazards such as wildfires or snowstorms. Taking steps to make new and existing buildings more resilient against these hazards will decrease the amount of damages, injuries, and life loss caused by these events. Incorporating the guidance provided in FEMA publications can help enhance the resilience of your building or structure which will keep you and other building occupants safe during these events.

You can order publications from the FEMA Distribution Center.

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Blast-Resistant Benefits of Seismic Design, Phase 2 Study: Performance Analysis of Structural Steel Strengthening Systems

This is one in a series of publications that were developed in response to September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the New York World Trade Center and the subsequent events that led to the formation of DHS and an increased emphasis on preparedness and mitigation of terrorism-related hazards. One issue that FEMA began shortly after that was to examine whether lessons learned in response to natural hazards could be effectively applied to protect building occupants from human threats. Important similarities between seismic and blast loadings lend themselves to such examination.

FEMA Roof Snowdrift Design Guide

Following a series of heavy snow and wind events in February of 2015, a FEMA team assessed four partial school building collapses in the Greater Boston area. In all four cases, the partial collapses were due to roof snowdrift loading. In two of the four cases, the FEMA team observed and documented 3-D drifts that cannot be determined when following the current ASCE 7 minimum load requirements.

This new design guide provides guidance, in the form of three design examples, for three-dimensional (3-D) roof snowdrifts. The procedures identified are consistent with the intersecting drift provisions expected in the 2022 edition of ASCE 7 and are intended to serve as best practice guidance for design professionals in the interim.

Snow Study Summary Report: Observations of Snow Load Effects on Four School Buildings in New England

The conclusions and recommendations of this report are intended to provide decision-makers and design professionals with information and technical guidance that can be used to reduce future damage from snow loads.

FEMA Snow Load Safety Guidance

This flyer summarizes warning signs of overstress conditions during a snow event, key safety issues and risks a snow event poses to buildings, and what to do after a snow event.

Building Codes Toolkit - Full Toolkit

Developed by the FEMA Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch, this Building Codes Toolkit provides basic guidance and easy-to-use tools to help property owners understand building codes and the basic processes and standards associated with proper design, permitting, construction, and mitigation.

Building codes specify the minimum design and construction requirements to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of both building occupants and the general public. Historically, details of the building codes, how they are implemented, and its value to overall community planning and disaster resilience have only been understood by the technical community (i.e., engineers, architects, building codes officials, etc.). FEMA recognizes that it is also equally important for the property owners to learn building codes and how their investment to proper construction ultimately protects their property and their occupants.

FEMA 403, World Trade Center Building Performance Study

This report presents observations, findings, and recommendations regarding the performance of buildings affected by the September 11 attacks on the WTC towers in New York City. The report also describes the structural and fire protection features of the affected buildings and their performance in response to the terrorist attacks. All PDF files have been made accessible for screen readers with the exception of Appendix D, which contains a spreadsheet that cannot be made accessible. A presentation is also supplied in PDF format.

Provisions of the 2009 I-Codes and ASCE 24 Compared to the NFIP

This table is a comparison of the provisions of the 2009 I-Codes/ASCE 24-05 and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.

FEMA 455, Handbook for Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings to Evaluate Terrorism Risks

This manual provides guidance for building inspectors, architects, and engineers on quickly and effectively determining what, if any, are the risks posed to the building by natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and other threats to the building's structural integrity.

FEMA 455, Handbook for Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings to Evaluate Terrorism Risks (Text Version)

This manual provides guidance for building inspectors, architects and engineers on quickly and effectively determining what, if any, are the risks posed to the building by natural hazards, terrorist attacks and other threats to the building's structural integrity.

FEMA 459, Incremental Protection for Existing Commercial Buildings from Terrorist Attack

This publication provides guidance to owners of existing commercial buildings and their architects and engineers on security and operational enhancements to address vulnerabilities to explosive blasts and chemical, biological, and radiological hazards. It also addresses how to integrate these enhancements into the ongoing building maintenance and capital improvement programs. These enhancements are intended to mitigate or eliminate long-term risk to people and property. FEMA 459 can be used in conjunction with FEMA 452, Risk Assessment: A How-To Guide to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Building. FEMA 459 presents an integrated, incremental rehabilitation approach to implementing the outcomes of a risk assessment completed in accordance with FEMA 452.

FEMA 459, Incremental Protection for Existing Commercial Buildings from Terrorist Attack (Text Version)

This publication provides guidance to owners of existing commercial buildings and their architects and engineers on security and operational enhancements to address vulnerabilities to explosive blasts and chemical, biological, and radiological hazards. It also addresses how to integrate these enhancements into the ongoing building maintenance and capital improvement programs. These enhancements are intended to mitigate or eliminate long-term risk to people and property. FEMA 459 can be used in conjunction with FEMA 452, Risk Assessment: A How-To Guide to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Building. FEMA 459 presents an integrated, incremental rehabilitation approach to implementing the outcomes of a risk assessment completed in accordance with FEMA 452.

FEMA 430, Site and Urban Design for Security: Guidance against Potential Terrorist Attacks

Site and Urban Design for Security: Guidance against Potential Terrorist Attacks (FEMA 430), provides information and design concepts for the protection of buildings and occupants, from site perimeters to the faces of buildings. The intended audience includes the design community of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and other consultants working for private institutions, building owners and managers, and state and local government officials concerned with site planning and design. FEMA 430, is one of a series that addresses security issues in high-population private-sector buildings. It is a companion to the Reference Manual to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings (FEMA 426), which provides an understanding of the assessment of threats, hazards, vulnerability, and risk, and the design methods needed to improve the protection of new and existing buildings and the people occupying them.

FEMA 430, Site and Urban Design for Security: Guidance against Potential Terrorist Attacks (Text Version)

Site and Urban Design for Security: Guidance against Potential Terrorist Attacks (FEMA 430), provides information and design concepts for the protection of buildings and occupants, from site perimeters to the faces of buildings. The intended audience includes the design community of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and other consultants working for private institutions, building owners and managers, and state and local government officials concerned with site planning and design. FEMA 430, is one of a series that addresses security issues in high-population private-sector buildings. It is a companion to the Reference Manual to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings (FEMA 426), which provides an understanding of the assessment of threats, hazards, vulnerability, and risk, and the design methods needed to improve the protection of new and existing buildings and the people occupying them.

FEMA 453, Safe Rooms and Shelters - Protecting People Against Terrorist Attacks

The objective of this manual is to provide guidance for engineers, architects, building officials, and property owners to design shelters and safe rooms in buildings. This manual presents information about the design and construction of shelters in the work place, home, or community building that will provide protection in response to manmade hazards. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties can obtain this publication via online download only.

FEMA 453, Safe Rooms and Shelters - Protecting People Against Terrorist Attacks (Text Version)

The objective of this manual is to provide guidance for engineers, architects, building officials, and property owners to design shelters and safe rooms in buildings. This manual presents information about the design and construction of shelters in the work place, home, or community building that will provide protection in response to manmade hazards. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties can obtain this publication via online download only.

FEMA 452, A How-To Guide to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Building

This how-to guide* outlines methods for identifying the critical assets and functions within buildings, determining the threats to those assets, and assessing the vulnerabilities associated with those threats. The methods presented provide a means to assess risks and to make decisions about how to mitigate them. The scope of the methods includes reducing physical damage to structural and non-structural components of buildings and related infrastructure, and reducing resultant casualties during conventional bomb attacks, as well as attacks involving chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) agents. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties can obtain this publication via online download only. The Risk Assessment Database can be downloaded from www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/rms/rmsp452.shtm. *The guide is currently being updated.

FEMA 452, A How-To Guide to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings (TEXT Version)

This how-to guide* outlines methods for identifying the critical assets and functions within buildings, determining the threats to those assets, and assessing the vulnerabilities associated with those threats. The methods presented provide a means to assess risks and to make decisions about how to mitigate them. The scope of the methods includes reducing physical damage to structural and non-structural components of buildings and related infrastructure, and reducing resultant casualties during conventional bomb attacks, as well as attacks involving chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) agents. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties can obtain this publication via online download only. The Risk Assessment Database can be downloaded from www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/rms/rmsp452.shtm. *The guide is currently being updated.

FEMA 426, Reference Manual to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings

This manual* provides guidance to the building science community of architects and engineers, to reduce physical damage to buildings, related infrastructure, and people caused by terrorist assaults. The manual presents incremental approaches that can be implemented over time to decrease the vulnerability of buildings to terrorist threats. Many of the recommendations can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties must order by special request through the Government Printing Office (GPO). *The manual is currently being updated.

FEMA 426, Reference Manual to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings (Text Version)

This manual* provides guidance to the building science community of architects and engineers, to reduce physical damage to buildings, related infrastructure, and people caused by terrorist assaults. The manual presents incremental approaches that can be implemented over time to decrease the vulnerability of buildings to terrorist threats. Many of the recommendations can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties must order by special request through the Government Printing Office (GPO). *The manual is currently being updated.

FEMA 427, Primer for Design of Commercial Buildings to Mitigate Terrorist Attacks

This primer introduces a series of concepts that can help building designers, owners, and State and local governments mitigate the threat of hazards resulting from terrorist attacks on new buildings. FEMA 427 specifically addresses four high-population, private-sector building types: commercial office, retail, multifamily residential, and light industrial. This manual contains extensive qualitative design guidance for limiting or mitigating the effects of terrorist attacks, focusing primarily on explosions, but also addressing chemical, biological, and radiological attacks. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties must order by special request through the Government Printing Office (GPO).

FEMA 427, Primer for Design of Commercial Buildings to Mitigate Terrorist Attacks (Text Version)

This primer introduces a series of concepts that can help building designers, owners, and State and local governments mitigate the threat of hazards resulting from terrorist attacks on new buildings. FEMA 427 specifically addresses four high-population, private-sector building types: commercial office, retail, multifamily residential, and light industrial. This manual contains extensive qualitative design guidance for limiting or mitigating the effects of terrorist attacks, focusing primarily on explosions, but also addressing chemical, biological, and radiological attacks. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties must order by special request through the Government Printing Office (GPO).

FEMA 428, Primer for Design Safe Schools Projects in Case of Terrorist Attacks

The purpose of this primer is to provide the design community and school administrators with the basic principles and techniques to design a school safe from terrorist attacks. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties must order by special request through the Government Printing Office (GPO).

FEMA 428, Primer for Design Safe Schools Projects in Case of Terrorist Attacks (Text Version)

The purpose of this primer is to provide the design community and school administrators with the basic principles and techniques to design a school safe from terrorist attacks. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties must order by special request through the Government Printing Office (GPO).

FEMA 429, Insurance, Finance, and Regulation Primer for Terrorism Risk Management in Buildings

The purpose of this primer is to introduce the building insurance, finance, and regulatory communities to the issue of terrorism risk management in buildings and the tools currently available to manage the risks. FEMA 429 provides information related to insurance, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, and highlights current building regulations related to terrorism risk, due diligence, and vulnerability. The manual also includes a Building Security Checklist categorized by data collection, attack delivery methods, and attack mechanism parameters. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties can obtain this publication via online download only.

FEMA 429, Insurance, Finance, and Regulation Primer for Terrorism Risk Management in Buildings (Text.Version)

he purpose of this primer is to introduce the building insurance, finance, and regulatory communities to the issue of terrorism risk management in buildings and the tools currently available to manage the risks. FEMA 429 provides information related to insurance, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, and highlights current building regulations related to terrorism risk, due diligence, and vulnerability. The manual also includes a Building Security Checklist categorized by data collection, attack delivery methods, and attack mechanism parameters. NOTE: This publication is available free to Local and State government staff. All other interested parties can obtain this publication via online download only.

FEMA P-737, Home Builder's Guide to Construction in Wildfire Zones

The purpose of these Technical Fact Sheets is to provide information about wildfire behavior and recommendations for building design and construction methods in the wildland/urban interface. Implementation of the recommended design and construction methods can greatly increase the chances of a building’s survival in a wildfire.

FEMA P-737, Home Builder's Guide to Construction in Wildfire Zones (Text Version)

The purpose of these Technical Fact Sheets is to provide information about wildfire behavior and recommendations for building design and construction methods in the wildland/urban interface. Implementation of the recommended design and construction methods can greatly increase the chances of a building’s survival in a wildfire.

FEMA P-754, Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities

This Handbook is intended for use by State, local, tribal, and private, non-profit Applicants for assistance, FEMA and State PA Group Supervisors, and FEMA and State PA Program Project Specialists. The Handbook can be used to identify potentially feasible mitigation measures that can be implemented during the repair and rebuilding of damaged facilities after a disaster.

FEMA P-754, Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities (Text Version)

This Handbook is intended for use by State, local, tribal, and private, non-profit Applicants for assistance, FEMA and State PA Group Supervisors, and FEMA and State PA Program Project Specialists. The Handbook can be used to identify potentially feasible mitigation measures that can be implemented during the repair and rebuilding of damaged facilities after a disaster.

Last updated August 12, 2020