THE CASA PROGRAM
Our CASA Corps Program allows U. S. building professionals to engage with local professionals and authorities to promote safe building practices which includes building code implementation. Local independence – the ultimate objective of any development or aid – is the cornerstone of our initiative. The CASA Corps Program of Airline Ambassadors has been an ongoing operation since the 2001 Santa Tecla earthquake, which devastated much of El Salvador. Our endeavor is to communicate building technology in needed countries to reduce the effects of natural disasters.
The constant evolution and implementation of modern building codes and standards must be undertaken at many levels. Worker skill sets, the municipal capacity that oversees implementation of such information technology, building owners, and lenders who insist upon technical sophistication during construction to protect their investments are all involved. City and economic planners must seek useful technologies to create economies of scale in their communities.
Bringing technical training programs to developing nations is not a novel concept. In fact, there are many examples of this over the past 30 years in the disaster relief and development community. Unfortunately, despite many attempts by these programs to address this issue, developing nations remain more vulnerable to the consequences of inadequate construction than developed nations. This gap continues to widen exponentially despite the infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars in reconstruction projects by countries that contribute to the global development community.
Airline Ambassadors tries to bridge this gap by creating a context for professionals to share their modern construction and building code skills and match world resources to world need. Our members share their skills to help local communities understand how to establish and sustain a technically modern building “life safety” (building code) culture.
The CASA Corps Program grew out of an initiative by Airline Ambassadors to bring humanitarian assistance to countries following natural disasters. Through working with Kiwanis El Salvador, a humanitarian business service club, the founders of the CASA Corps program are practitioners in the building and construction industry.
Following the 2001 earthquake in El Salvador that killed over 2,000 people, members of Airline Ambassadors approached U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd who drafted the Codes And Safety of the Americas (CASA) Act. The Act authorized a sustainable program through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to assist countries in dealing with the mitigation of disasters by training appropriate professionals in Latin America from both the public and private sectors to enhance their understanding of building design, codes and standards. The program also provided for the translation of model building codes, standards and publications that address zoning, egress, fire and life safety, plumbing, sewage, sanitation, electrical installation, mechanical installation, structural engineering and seismic design that would enhance the educational, commercial and municipal capacities of these countries per building code training and implementation.
1) In early 2005, Airline Ambassadors coordinated a publication entitled “The Essential Elements of a Building Code”, which was based upon the 1997 Uniform building code published by ICBO /ICC.
2) The Earthquake Resistant Housing construction manual for popular housing was developed. It is currently published in both English and Spanish, French, and pending additional funding, is easily transferable to other languages.
You can download a brochure on the CASA program here.
You can download the CASA materials in English and Spanish here.
You can download the CASA materials in English and French here.
Please note that these are large files in PDF format.