London, KY -- If your home or business was damaged in Kentucky's March storms and floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you take steps in rebuilding to minimize the harm that could come in a future flood or tornado.
FEMA offers free technical advice on construction and rebuilding techniques to make your property safer and less vulnerable to violent weather events and even earthquakes, which are a threat in the state. In some cases, federal financial assistance may be available under FEMA's hazard mitigation program.
"As part of federal and state recovery efforts, FEMA works closely with community leaders to help people find the best ways to stay safe and minimize damages from future disasters," said Mike Bolch, FEMA federal coordinating officer. "Safety, of course, is the primary goal of mitigation, but it has also proven to be cost effective."
FEMA encourages property owners in flood hazard areas to consider elevating structures above expected flood levels, and to move furnaces, pumps, water heaters, circuit breakers and other essential equipment higher where possible.
Kentucky is often a target of tornadoes. FEMA recommends when rebuilding following a flood or tornado, that property owners tie the foundation, wall and roof components together as a single unit for strength against destructive winds. They should also incorporate fortified spaces called safe rooms that provide life-saving shelter from approaching storms. Plans for such rooms in various types of structures are available from FEMA by calling 770-220-5400.
"The prevention of a recurring 'damage-reconstruction-damage' cycle is the purpose of the hazard mitigation program that is now incorporated in every disaster effort," said State Coordinating Officer Cash Centers. "A few dollars spent now can result in thousands saved in the future."
Communities across the nation are becoming more disaster resistant with financial help from states and FEMA, which allocates 15 percent of its spending on a specific disaster back to the state for mitigation projects.