Community Support During COVID-19

It goes without saying that we are still well into the effects of the sweeping changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought a degree of uncertainty for many small businesses. We at Niyam are greatly fortunate to have the ability to continue moving forward while minimizing the risks of this virus. Since the declaration of COVID-19 as a national pandemic by the World Health Organization, we have placed new policies and procedures in order to first and foremost benefit the safety of our employees, contractors, and everyone who is a member of the Niyam family. All non-essential travel has been cancelled, and all who have the capacity to work remotely from home have been doing so. By virtue of our business being in the IT industry, we are lucky to have the ability to work under such circumstances with minimal impact on delivery to our clients and stakeholders.

We wish we could say that we have 100% of our employees working from home, however there are still a number whose work requires a regular onsite presence for the sake of our clients. In the name of safety, measures have been promptly placed to ensure that the safety of our employees is not compromised. Our clients have been transparent in their efforts to make sure that the proper precautions are placed. This includes having socially distant and limited office placings as well as the availability of ASTM F2100 Type 1 certified masks for usage by any of our employees and contractors. We can also confirm that these job sites are thoroughly sanitized by professionals on a regular basis, and communication lines are always open. 

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

The reality of the pandemic has shaped how we work and how we approach challenges. We’ve taken an approach to increase our contributions online. So far this year, our team has already exchanged thousands of emails with emergency management professionals seeking technical support and subject matter expertise for risk assessment projects across the U.S. Among these emails included data used in the recent Utah Governor’s request to the White House for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the March 18th earthquake in Salt Lake City. The data in question was actually gathered in the first ever fully remote loss estimate.

Simultaneously, we have continued supporting the use of best available flood hazard and structure data with the newly released, open source Flood Assessment Structure Tool for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s forthcoming South Atlantic Coastal Study. This study will aim to quantify flood risk across Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and continental states along the southern Atlantic coast. The project will inform the public and the emergency management community about risk across this region in unprecedented detail and scale. Our contribution of subject matter expertise to the project ensures results are documented, accurate and consistent with FEMA standards. Our team is also specifically highlighted in and preparing to support the FEMA COVID-19 Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season, describing an enhanced role for modeling and virtual support for operations.

As well, our same team contributed to the Hazus Spring Quarterly Webinar with 175 attendees, with an additional 100 people who downloaded the webinar recording. Email analytics showed a 30% increase in online engagement compared to previous webinars. The webinar featured an ambitious statewide risk assessment project undertaken for Colorado and jointly funded by FEMA and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The project leveraged EPA climate change data to quantify future risk for multiple natural hazards.

It is our aim to serve communities now and always, especially in these unprecedented times. We look forward to carrying out our duties and providing the best solutions to tomorrow’s challenges with our heads held high and our work unwavering.

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