The MNSEA SEER (Structural Engineers Emergency Response) Committee is a committee of the MNSEA consisting of structural engineering professionals that are focused on bringing information forward to our MNSEA members and the public on the structural engineer’s role in responding to emergency situations for damage to our built environment.

The MNSEA SEER Committee mission statement: “To prepare and provide for rapid mobilization of qualified structural engineers to assist emergency management agencies and the public in responding to disasters.”

The committee intends to work closely with the National SEER Committee and with other state SEER Committees to bring forth information on how to meet the objectives of the MNSEA SEER Committee, including the following:

Reporting on the status of the national and state SEER committee activities;

Identifying training and certifications that would be required and/or beneficial for structural engineers engaging in emergency response activities;

Providing opportunities to receive emergency response training and information through seminars and other events;

Inform how structural engineers can assist with government entities and private parties in an emergency event;

Inform how to participate in the roster program for responding to emergencies;

Other information as appropriate;

The committee hopes to bring in speakers for the various relationships/players that may be involved with emergency response projects, to hear what they look for from structural engineers at the scenes, what concerns them, what they like to see on site, etc., including OSHA, ATF, CSB, NTSB, Fire Marshalls, building departments, emergency responders (police, fire, ambulance, etc.), DOT (for bridge and other transportation structures), attorneys, insurance companies, contractors, and others as appropriate.

Please contact Doug Fell, MNSEA SEER Committee chair if you have any questions or comments regarding the SEER Committee.

For more information visit NCSEA SEER website.


MNSEA SEER Logo Patches, Logo Stickers, and Logo Badges.

The MNSEA SEER Committee has approved the new logo to represent the MNSEA SEER program.

Patches and stickers of the MNSEA SEER logo will soon be available to those members of the MNSEA that are on the national NCSEA SEER roster and have completed all the current required minimum training for deployment from the roster. That training currently is either the CalOES certification or the ICC DR certification AND all the following FEMA training certifications:

  • FEMA IS100 Introduction to Incident Command System
  • FEMA IS200 ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incident
  • FEMA IS700 An Introduction to the National Incident Management System
  • FEMA IS800 National Response Framework, An Introduction

The badge logo will have a range of years issued on them to easily identify that the wearer of them are current as of those years.

Refer to the NCSEA SEER website for the most current requirements for being on the roster and for deployment.


New MNSEA SEER Brochure.

The MNSEA SEER Committee has created a brochure covering the MNSEA SEER Committee and its purpose. The brochure covers the national roster and provides a link to the NCSEA SEER Committee website for further information. The purpose of the brochure is to inform the public and MNSEA members of the activities of the MNSEA and NCSEA SEER Committees and the resource of trained and experienced structural engineers to respond to catastrophic events damaging our built environment.


Disaster Response Alliance.

In the past two years, more than 100 million people in the United States, a third of its population, suffered in some way from natural disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and flooding. The International Code Council and the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations—which have had a long-standing partnership in support of the design, construction, and administration of safe and resilient buildings—have joined forces to create the Disaster Response Alliance (DRA) to help communities get up and running as quickly as possible after a major disaster.

The DRA maintains a single, national database of skilled volunteers willing to assist with response and recovery activities. These activities include post-disaster safety assessments, rapid safety assessments, detailed safety assessments, other building damage assessments, inspections, and other code-related functions in the aftermath of a disaster. The DRA’s national database of volunteers is available to local and state jurisdictions as well as federal government agencies for pre- and post-disaster assistance.

The Disaster Response Alliance website:


MNSEA SEER Committee Train the Trainer.

The NCSEA SEER Committee has provided funding for two representatives from the MNSEA SEER Committee for train the trainers of the CalOES SAP. That training occurred in January 2019. The intent of having trainers within our MNSEA SEER Committee is to be able to provide increased availability of training opportunities within our region for our members and to assist with additional trainer resources for training as necessary from NCSEA SEER Committee. This is in standing with our goal of providing emergency response training to our members.

We hope to start offering CalOES SAP training opportunities via website and in-person within 2019. There will be an NCSEA offered CalOES SAP training webinar on June 12, 2019 with Doug Fell as the trainer. Please revisit our website for updates on these and other training opportunities.


ACECMN Presentation on “The Business Side of Emergency Response”.

Doug Fell presented “The Business Side of Emergency Response” to the ACECMN on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, at the Marriott Minneapolis West.

All firms have received phone calls from clients or others requesting help with an emergency problem. Something has happened to affect the building structure—no heat/ventilation, a chemical spill, a fire, flooding, something is making a bad noise or defecting and there is high concern that something bad may happen. When we get these calls, we must consider what it is we are being asked to do, if we can handle it as quickly as needed, and how this may affect our business—not just the benefit of the potential for increased revenue due to taking this project, but the wide variety of potential risks we may encounter.

This presentation highlighted responses to emergency events, including how emergency responses may affect your business and what should be considered beforehand to properly identify and measure the risk to benefit aspects.


Annual Institute for Building Officials Presentation “Understanding the Roles of Participants in Emergency Response to Catastrophic Damage”.

Sarah Durphy and Doug Fell facilitated and presented with others on “Understanding the Roles of Participants in Emergency Response to Catastrophic Damage” held from 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on January 14, 2019 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center located at 6155 Earle Brown Drive in Minneapolis, MN.

This course addressed how to deal with catastrophic damage to structures after a natural disaster. The roles of various participants of a catastrophic event were introduced and there was a focus on the adaptability of building departments to meet the high demands to address the situation. This session also covered the many different entities that become engaged in the emergency response and especially the importance of involving experienced structural engineers to assess structural stability in the built environment.


MNSEA SEER Committee Creates Risk Mitigation Subcommittee.

MNSEER started exploring the area of Good Samaritan laws within the state of Minnesota and nationally to define the status and to consider the possibility of legislative adjustments to accommodate those Minnesota professional engineers that “volunteer” their efforts to assist in responding to emergency events. The concern was to have appropriate risk mitigation devices (contracts, memorandum of understanding, laws, and other devices) in place for the structural engineer. To better address this topic, the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee was created initially to address the Good Samaritan topic, but quickly identified that the Good Samaritan area was a very narrow sector of providing emergency response and volunteering structural engineering services. They quickly defined three categories to address the provision of structural engineering emergency responses and volunteering structural engineering services. The three areas are “walk-upon” volunteering, doing these services under normal business protective systems (contracts) possibly at a reduced fee and as a pure volunteer with protective devices in place (being deputized, memorandum of understanding, etc.) for that.

The MNSEA SEER Committee offered to and the NCSEA SEER Committee has accepted that the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee also be focused on the national front since they would be gathering the data on the current national status of this topic.

This is an area that needs further definition and protective devices for those that are assisting by providing their professional services to assist others for pure volunteering and for the expedited return to service after a disaster without the protective devices they may have when providing these services on a compensated contract basis.

John Lewis chairs this subcommittee and Dave Macdonald and Brad Severson are currently on the subcommittee. Thank you to them for their great service to the structural engineering profession.

Please let us know if you have an interest in this topic and would like to assist in further defining this area.


MNSEA SEER Committee Risk Mitigation Subcommittee to Present at the 2019 NCSEA Summit.

We are excited to report that the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee will be presenting SEER Risk Mitigation for Structural Engineers Involved with Emergency Responses”. This presentation will address the risks structural engineers face and possible risk mitigation devices available to them when offering their services responding to an emergency or volunteering their services.

Three presenters will offer an update on the MNSEA/NCSEA SEER Risk Mitigation Subcommittee efforts, the view from the NCSEA SEER Committee on this topic and an attorney’s view on this topic.  John Lewis, chair of the Risk Mitigation Subcommittee, David Troxell, co-chair of the NCSEA SEER Committee and Jeff Coleman an attorney will present.

This will expand the discussion of this topic to the national level for all structural engineers that either respond to emergencies or volunteer their services and want to know how to better protect themselves and their firms from risky situations.


Request for Emergency Response Photos.

The MNSEA SEER Committee is asking for your help by submitting emergency response digital photographs that may be used for our website, presentations, brochures, etc. These images should be generic, not showing any company information or identifiable images to link it to a company or a location, and should not show people or at least faces or identifiable images to link it to a person. Photos of damage due to flood, fire, explosion, wind, impact, collapse from other causes, excessive deformation, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Please email your images to Doug Fell. When we receive the images we will send out a photo image release to be signed to allow use of the photos. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this.



♦ Chair
Doug Fell, (National NCSEA SEER Committee liaison)
Structural Resource Center LLC

♦ Vice Chairperson
Sarah M. Durphy, (State SEER Committees liaison)
SE Estructure

♦ Secretary
Dave Macdonald
Mattson Macdonald Young, Inc.

♦ Committee Members
John Lewis

Kerry Rauschendorfer
Larson Engineering, Inc.

Nicholas Rock
Clark Engineering

Jim Strehle
Walker Consultants

Kevin Vazquez

Brad Severson
Kimley Horn



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