Civil Engineering and Disaster Recovery: An Overview

Civil engineers play a critical role in helping America overcome natural disasters. After disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, there will be significant damage to buildings in the affected regions, and civil engineers are there on the front lines to help the recovery process and perform disaster mitigation.

Some of the forms of aid and relief provided by the civil engineering industry in Rockville, MD during disaster recovery include:

  • Rebuilding damaged shelters or building new ones to house people who were displaced by disasters
  • Working around damaged communication systems that were impacted by the disaster
  • Developing strategies for reducing food and water shortages in communities
  • Helping plan out evacuation routes via transportation equipment
  • Assisting and initiating rebuilds of dams and levees that failed during the disaster
  • Taking knowledge from failure of buildings and structures to apply and learn from for prevention of future damage caused by natural disasters

Anytime there is an earthquake or storm strong enough to damage the foundation of a building or destroy the building entirely, it is important to call in engineers to examine how and why the building collapsed. These analyses are crucial before demolition or remedial work begins, so engineers can gain a better understanding of potential vulnerabilities and how to develop buildings that have stronger architectural designs. This will reduce the risk of collapses in the future.

Civil engineers with a geotechnical focus are ones that are more likely to focus on foundational and structural issues. Meanwhile, civil engineers with a hydraulic focus will be called in to analyze the building and restoring of dams designed for flood control. When there are sudden unexpected dam failures, these engineers are needed to determine what specifically caused the dam to fail and how it can be rebuilt and enhanced in such a way that future structural compromises will not occur, at least in the same way.

Finally, civil engineers with an environmental focus will be called out to any areas where there have been toxic waste disasters that might result in the contamination of water supply for a community. Some of the specific tasks these engineers focus on will include drainage augmentation, alleviation of air pollution and protection of workers on the site from exposure to harmful radiation emissions. It is critical to control the potential effects of a hazardous waste event and to get it contained before going to work on rehabilitation and cleanup and then figuring out how to avoid such events in the future.

With climate change continuing to ramp up, it is expected that civil engineers will play an even larger role in natural disaster recovery throughout this century. America’s aging infrastructure will be particularly vulnerable to severe weather and climate events when they occur, so civil engineers will have to be ready to respond as needed.

For more information about civil engineering and how our field is used during periods of disaster recovery, get in touch with the team at EMC2 Inc. in Rockville, MD. We’d be happy to meet with you!