Property owners planning to rebuild homes or businesses damaged by Tropical Storm Debby should consider using construction methods that will minimize damage in future storms. Taking steps to reduce future damage is called hazard mitigation.
Largo, Fla., July 20, 2012 -- Tornado damage to an old growth tree, damaged this roof and many other roofs in Largo, FL. FEMA is present in Pinellas County, going door-to-door helping residents apply for FEMA assistance. Photo by Marilee Caliendo/FEMA
Here are some improvements property owners should discuss with contractors:
- WIND CLIPS: These are small inexpensive metal plates that are used to firmly secure a roof to the walls of a structure.
- MASONRY TIES: These are metal strips used to anchor the wooden frame of a structure to the masonry foundation walls.
- PLYWOOD: Construction engineers prefer plywood to pressboard, not less than 7/16ths of an inch thick.
- FASTENING: In securing four-by-eight foot plywood sheathing to walls or roofs, nails should be driven at intervals no greater than four inches in the perimeter and six inches in the middle lines.
- GARAGE DOORS: Consider a heavy gauge door. When high winds buckle a garage door it is likely that the roof will be lifted off.
- ELEVATION: This is the ultimate safeguard against flooding. It is costly but widely employed, particularly along coastlines.
- ELECTRICAL: Appliances and circuit breaker boxes should be raised above base flood elevation, door seals renewed and old windows replaced with waterproof windows.
- DRAINAGE: Ditches should be cleared.
Specialists stress the necessity of tying foundations to the frames of structures with correctly installed anchor bolts. Bolts should penetrate foundation blocks at least 15 inches to connect with the second course of block.
While these measures can’t guarantee protection from storm damage, the odds for escaping major damage are much improved.
Go here to see a video on building a safer house.
And for a list of free FEMA publications on hazard mitigation and more information on protecting your home or business, click here.