Upholding the public’s safety, health, and welfare is an everyday charge of civil engineers. So when a storm event strikes, it’s only natural that they are among those on the front lines to help with resilience and recovery efforts.
John Fleming, P.E., M.ASCE, an ASCE Region 4 governor in South Carolina, is among those civil engineering superheroes lending a hand this week in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
“I think all of us who have taken this profession understand it’s all about the overall environment in the whole world, so we’re fundamentally trying to give back,” said Fleming, who is the director of development for the SouthernCarolina Regional Economic Development Alliance in Hampton, SC.
“It’s all about giving back to society and the community.”
Fleming is an officer in the South Carolina State Guard Engineering Command, a group composed mainly of professional engineers. Members can be deployed around the state to provide pre- and post-event safety assessments of structures and infrastructure.
Fleming, whose home near Charleston fortunately was spared any damage, did several pre-storm assessments last week. Later this week, and in weeks to come, he will deploy as needed to provide support to affected areas of the state.
“We’re prepared to come help based on our individual skill sets,” Fleming said. “And then we use our professional expertise to provide safety assessments where we’re needed within the state. Getting people home, getting those business back open, and keeping that local economy running is critically important – especially if it’s a smaller, rural area.”
For Fleming, a Charleston native, disaster preparedness is nothing new – “it is a way of life living along the coast.” This is the third time he’s deployed with the State Guard to help following a hurricane.
Just typical of a civil engineer.
“You know, everybody wants to help. They just might not know how to help,” Fleming said. “All it took was a phone call. Next thing you know we had three or four people ready to go out – all engineers.”