News Louisiana Municipal Association and Institute for Building Technology and Safety Team to Support Enhanced Mutual Aid

March 31, 2009 - Louisiana: The Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA) and the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) have teamed up to develop a quick response and implementation system to help cities, towns and villages respond to disasters.

Drawing on input from the LMA Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee, IBTS will develop a statewide master mutual aid agreement and standard documents for rapid implementation, provide on-call assistance to Louisiana officials in the first 72 hours after a disaster, and provide a detailed disaster program handbook to maximize state and federal resources and extraordinary costs in the event of a federally declared disaster. IBTS will also conduct two webinars to introduce Louisiana local officials to capabilities and use of the enhanced mutual aid system.

The overall goal is to provide enhanced mutual aid capacity to support local disaster response efforts during the first 24 to 72 hours after an event to share equipment and resources before Federal or State Agencies are able to do so.

"For cities, towns and villages, the first 24 to 72 hours after a disaster strikes are the most critical," said LMA Executive Director Tom Ed McHugh. "That's when city officials are on their own trying to meet urgent needs of their citizens before state and federal resources step in."

"This effort will help local officials know what to do and how to do it during those first few days when local resources alone are often insufficient to meet urgent needs," McHugh added.

IBTS, a not-for-profit engineering and education firm, based in Herndon, Virginia, with offices in Baton Rouge and Bossier City, has provided FEMA programs technical assistance and building code services in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 to include disaster management services for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Last summer, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal proclaimed August 24-August 30, 2008 as Public Safety through Code Compliance Week in the state, and cited IBTS's work in helping to implement the first statewide uniform building code.

"We value our partnership with the Louisiana Municipal Association and look forward to working together to strengthen local capacity to respond when disaster strikes," said IBTS CEO Ashok Goswami. "By bringing together IBTS's expertise in disaster response and LMA's broad knowledge of municipal needs, particularly in the aftermath of a hurricane, we can ensure that cities and towns are better prepared when disaster strikes.

ABOUT LMA. The Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA), a non-profit, non-political, and non-partisan organization, represents the interests of the state's 305 incorporated villages, cities, and towns. Led by a 35-member Executive Board which establishes policy and direction for the Association and its portfolio of services, LMA provides a wealth of basic and advanced advocacy, educational, and informational-technology services for its member municipalities. LMA also partners with other organizations, such as the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), to help municipalities and their elected and appointed officials establish and improve emergency and disaster management planning and processes.

About IBTS. The Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) is committed to promoting sustainable, healthy, safe, and economically sound development, working in partnership with state and local governments. IBTS helps governments manage challenges, risks, and opportunities in the built environment, serving as a bridge between the business/construction community and government. IBTS's work is guided by a Board of Directors made up of representatives of the National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National League of Cities, International City/County Management Association, and National Association of Counties.

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