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Every year the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) holds the Joint Engineer Training Conference & Expo (JETC) to discuss everything from national security to public health. Six educational tracks will also be available that address the major issues impacting engineers serving state, local and federal agencies. Onvia is excited to attend the expo this year and meet over 250 exhibitors who will showcase new products and innovative services.

One of this year’s themes is climate change and one topic is on planning, design and construction/renovation of structures to handle severe storms, flooding, wildfire and other impacts that are expected to result from a warming climate.

The Impact of Hurricanes on Government Purchasing

Onvia’s Project Center reveals the initiatives that different states take to prepare for flooding and hurricanes. After Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012, there was an influx of bids from state agencies on the Eastern Seaboard requesting building and infrastructure repairs. From October 2012 to now, there are over 800 Hurricane Sandy related bids and RFP’s in Project Center.

Many projects are for the unexpectedly hard hit states of New York and New Jersey, such as:

 
Awarded Layfield Environmental Systems $96,760 in September 2013 to construct flood barriers to prevent flooding in future hurricanes.
Orange County in Florida
 
Awarded Stage Door II, Inc. $6,485,430 for a one-year contract ending in September 2015 to “install and repair storm sewer pipe, ditch bottom inlets, curb inlets and roadside ditches including site preparation, hauling, grading, stabilizing, sodding, miscellaneous asphalt pavement, concrete curbs and sidewalks, driveways, mitered ends, clearing and grubbing and swale excavation” at locations within the county.

States have different requirements for building construction. In hurricane prone areas, hurricane-impact glass and frames are requested in bids & RFPs:

Juniata County in Pennsylvania
 
Awarded $2,978.00 to William P. Seller Building & Remodeling in September 2014 to replace three government building windows with new insulated, 1” thick hurricane glass. In Florida, building codes require windows to be impact resistant if located within one mile of the coast where winds hit 110mph or greater.
 
Town of Highland Beach in Florida
 
Issued a request for proposal in March 2015 that includes the “purchase and installation of all materials necessary to enclose and reinforce the porches with special impact glass windows and doors (hurricane windows).”

State & Local Governments Work to Mitigate Wildfires

Like hurricanes, wildfires are hard to predict. Each state has different building codes and standards that provide guidance for structural and land wildfire protection and maintenance. Fuels reduction is one way state and local agencies try to prevent wildfires and loss of property. That means they cut down trees, remove brush, pull dead vegetation, etc., particularly near buildings and homes in high risk areas. Less fuel for the fire generally means a reduced threat to the public.

California is often plagued with several wildfires every year because of the continuous hot & dry weather.

San Diego County in California
 
Issued a bid in March 2015 requesting fuel reduction parcel preparation and tree removal monitoring on an as needed basis.

Goat grazing is another trend in fuels reduction. Goats help reduce the risk of fire by grazing on dead and dry vegetation. It’s also a safer method for brush removal as mowers and other equipment can spark their own fires. Goats provide a cost effective and more environmentally friendly solution for wildfire prevention.

 
In January 2015, began solicitation of proposals from environmental consultants that includes goat grazing to reduce fire hazard conditions in the Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area.

Technology advancements, like early warning systems, have helped agencies be prepared for wildfires.

City of Austin in Texas
 
Secured a one-year contract with FireWatch America, LLC for $350,000 from July 2014 to July 2015 to provide a wildfire detection sensor system and installation services.

According to FireWatch, their system “moves in 10 degree increments, as a sensor completes a 360 degree rotation every 8 to 12 minutes, during which it takes images, analyzes, and transmits those images back to the central secondary analysis. If possible fire events are detected, the system alerts fire authorities.” Technology such early wildfire smoke detection can monitor fire prone areas at all times and can help save lives, property and agency budget dollars.

In this tweet by FireWatch America, the Austin Fire Department discusses how enthusiastic they are to have the system:

To get more information about how Onvia’s suite of business intelligence tools can help you find related engineering, technology, infrastructure and emergency/disaster opportunities, email Onvia’s Executive VP and Co-Founder, Irv Alpert who will be walking the expo floor at ialpert@onvia.com. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Houston, TX for an exciting show!