COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be showing residents how to reduce future disaster risks at the Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson, Oct. 27 through Nov. 6. Disaster recovery specialists will be available at the Project Impact booth to hand out free disaster-planning brochures, disaster-prevention construction plans and "Disaster Preparedness" coloring books for the children, as well as to answer fairgoers' disaster-prevention questions.
More than 5,000 people visited the Project Impact booth at the State Fair in Columbia earlier this month and picked up materials about building disaster-resistant homes and communities. Several teachers took instructive materials they plan to use in their grade school classes. The free teacher manuals are called "Tremor Troop - Earthquakes," designed for upper elementary school levels.
The booth contains a wind-resistant model house, a large Project Impact display, and a wide variety of mitigation literature, including the very popular "Windstorm Mitigation Manual for Light Frame Construction" and the "Homeowner's Guide to Hurricane Retrofit." Most of the booth materials are directed toward families. Disaster prevention themes include: how to safely return home after a disaster, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and disaster-resistant home repairs and projects.
"Building flood-resistant homes saves two dollars in taxpayers' funding of disaster relief for every dollar spent," FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Larry Bailey said. "While the government can help flood survivors get back on their feet following Hurricane Floyd, no one wants to experience such a disaster again. That's why we are so eager to educate the public and to help develop disaster-resistant communities."
Removing people from harm's way and supporting the development of disaster-resistant communities is a critical element of Project Impact, a nationwide disaster prevention initiative started in 1997 by FEMA Director James Lee Witt. Through Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities, towns and cities are taking steps to prevent damages before disasters strike. More than 120 communities and 1,000 business partners throughout the country are participating in this effort.
No stranger to this disaster-prevention initiative, South Carolina has two designated Project Impact communities: the city of Florence, and Charleston County, including the cities of Charleston and Mount Pleasant. Florence's flood mitigation projects include a $125-million capital improvement budget for ongoing alleviation of storm water flooding. Charleston County has nearly 200 disaster prevention projects, including stronger building codes, disaster-resistant education programs, developing a list and map of critical facilities, and developing evacuation shelters. A 125-year old house in the city of Charleston has been renovated with sustainable building materials and hazard mitigation retrofit techniques. This "Center for Sustainable Living" at 113 Calhoun Street will contain a classroom where builders and homeowners can explore the use of hazard-resistant building materials.