Objective - To implement all 16 recommendations from the NIST Joplin tornado investigation, at the earliest possible date based on code and standard development cycles, by (1) developing, or coordinating the development of, guidelines, national standards, and code change proposals; (2) coordinating/championing their adoption in the national model codes; and (3) conducting/coordinating research to enable development/deployment of technology for improved emergency communication, tornado hazard characterization, and public perception of risk and response during emergencies.
What is the new technical idea? NIST has the lead or co-lead role for three of the sixteen Joplin recommendations. These include (1) development of tornado hazard maps for building design, (2) development of performance-based tornado design methodologies (co-lead with FEMA), and (3) Identification of factors that enhance public perception of risk and promote effective public response in emergencies (co-lead with NSF).
- For these three NIST-lead/co-lead recommendations, the new technical ideas are as follows: For Tornado Hazard Maps recommendation: Using a spatially-based approach for tornado hazard characterization instead of the current point-based approach which has been shown to under-estimate the tornado risk of a community, develop a set of tornado hazard maps for identification of the tornado-prone regions for structural design of buildings. This map will also provide an essential component for the development of a performance-based tornado-resistant design standard.
- For Performance-Based Tornado Design Methodologies recommendation: Using a holistic tornado-resistant design approach requiring all building components and systems to meet or exceed the same performance objectives specified for that building, and good practices observed in the May 22, 2011 Joplin and other tornadoes, develop a tornado-resistant design guidance (methodologies) for buildings.
- For Identification of Factors that Enhance Public Perception of Risk recommendation: Establish NIST/NSF MOU and disseminate grants for research in the topic area of public risk perception. Additionally, based upon research conducted (in-house) on the factors that contribute to risk perception in fires and other types of disasters, current effort via the Safety of Building Occupants Projects (7333007-000), and external research funded by NSF or NIST, develop guidelines for enhancing public risk perception before and during a disaster event.
For the thirteen recommendations with other agencies designated as lead, NIST will actively participate as either coordinator/convener/facilitator/committee member to make sure necessary work/code change proposals get completed in a timely manner consistent with the standard and code development cycles.
What is the research plan? The research plan for the three NIST-lead recommendations is as follow:
- For Tornado Hazard Maps recommendation, In FY15, NIST developed a 3-year plan detailing technical work leading to development of a Tornado Hazard Mapping Methodology, which will subsequently be used to develop the maps needed for tornado-resistant design of buildings in the U.S. Year One (FY15) Tasks include: (1) evaluate the scientific basis of existing tornado hazard maps in the U.S. and their applicability for tornado-resistant design of buildings; (2) review all tornado data to date (since the development of those maps) that might affect the characterization of tornado hazards; and (3) evaluate the suitability of spatially-based approach to tornado hazard characterization.
- Year Two tasks include (1) convene a workshop of coalition partners and key stakeholders to review proposed tornado hazard mapping approach and begin to build consensus for this approach; (2) publish the results of Year-One work; and (3) finalize the reanalysis of the NOAA tornado database and correction for biases in the database. Year three tasks include finalization of the tornado hazard mapping methodology and application of the spatially-based tornado hazard mapping approach to develop tornado risk metrics and hazard maps for a pilot region of the U.S.. Following completion of the methodology, a new set of tornado hazard maps for identification of tornado-prone regions for tornado-resistant design of buildings in the U.S. will be developed and work will be initiated to submit the proposed map to the ASCE Performance–Based Design for Wind technical committee, for use in their pre-standard provisions, for ultimate adoption in ASCE 7-22.
- For Performance-Based Tornado Design Methodologies recommendation, this project will work with FEMA and appropriate stakeholders/contractors to form a working group to develop the scope and outline of a tornado design guidance for building. Subsequently, work with FEMA and contractor to develop and publish a NIST/FEMA tornado design guide. This guidance document will be based on good practices observed in the May 22, 2011 Joplin and other tornadoes, and on a holistic tornado-resistant design approach requiring all building components and systems, in certain tornado-prone regions, to meet or exceed the same performance objectives specified for that building.
- For Identification of Factors that Enhance Public Perception of Risk recommendation, this project will develop guidance for communities on provision of public alerts ‒ via siren systems (activation procedures, sounds, and sounding patterns) and social media (including mobile alerts), for inclusion in NFPA 1616, Standard for Mass Evacuation and Sheltering. This project will also develop guidelines on how to increase public perception of risk before and during tornado events, which will inform NIST Joplin recommendation on Codes, Standards, Guidance for Emergency Communications/Joint Plan by Emergency Managers/Media/NWS for Consistent Alerts.