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NIST issues final Joplin Tornado report

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the final report on its technical investigation into the impacts of the May 22nd, 2011, tornado that struck Joplin, Mo. The final report is strengthened by clarifications and supplemental text suggested by organizations and individuals in response to a request for comments on the draft Joplin report.

The revisions did not alter the investigation team's major findings or its 16 recommendations, highlighted by NIST's call for nationally accepted standards for building design and construction, public shelters and emergency communications that can significantly reduce deaths and the steep economic costs of property damage caused by tornadoes.

NIST will now work with the appropriate code development organizations to use the study's recommendations to improve model building codes and lay the foundation for nationally accepted standards. NIST also will work with organizations representing state and local governments — including building officials — to encourage them to consider implementing its recommendations. These include calls to develop and adopt:

* Nationally accepted performance-based standards for the tornado-resistant design of buildings and infrastructure to ensure the resiliency of communities to tornado hazards;

* Standards for designing and constructing essential buildings — such as hospitals and emergency operations centers — and infrastructure to remain operational in the event of a tornado;

* Design methods that will ensure all building components and systems meet the proposed performance objectives;

* Uniform national guidelines that enable communities to create safe and effective public sheltering strategies; and

* Nationally accepted codes and standards, as well as uniform guidance for clear, consistent and accurate emergency communications.

The report also includes a number of recommendations for future research and development of technologies and strategies to advance tornado wind measurements, strengthen emergency communications, increase warning time, create more accurate tornado hazard maps and improve public response during tornado events.

The complete text of the final report, Technical Investigation of the May 22, 2011, Tornado in Joplin, Missouri is available at www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=915628

•Date: 1st April 2014 • US •Type: Article • Topic: BC buildings & facilities

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