San Antonio, TX -- More than 18,500 people have been affected by the floods of 2002. Nearly 14,000 individuals have been approved for disaster grants totaling $23,871,605.84. Many are ready to repair or reconstruct their homes; this may be one of the most important decisions in their lives.
"If you are about to begin reconstruction or repair of a home that was damaged by the disaster, you should review your options," said Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Federal Coordinating Officer Scott Wells.
Texas state officials also suggest that you carefully plan the repairs before spending your money. "You should do research on construction materials and damage mitigation techniques to protect your family and property from the next disaster," said State Coordinating Officer Duke Mazurek.
Dr. William Gray and the Hurricane Forecast Team at Colorado State University have predicted an above average level of hurricane activity for the 2002 season. The probability for at least one intense hurricane making landfall this year along the Gulf of Mexico Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, Texas, is 43 percent, according to the team's predictions. People who live in or visit hurricane-prone areas should be aware of this threat and take steps to protect themselves and their property.
Some steps to follow when repairing or preparing your home:
- Check the electrical, plumbing, air conditioning and sewage systems. Inspect the roof ridge rafters, nails, cables or beams.
- Construction experts recommend using hurricane clips, small metal devices that secure a roof to the top of a structure's walls. They are inexpensive and widely used in hurricane-prone areas.
- Consider elevating the water heater, washer, dryer and other equipment above the flood level. If possible, make sure all electric motors and appliances are raised above the flood level.
- Get in touch with the local building official or permitting office to make sure that the proposed repairs meet established regulations and that corresponding permits are obtained.
- Purchase flood insurance before the next storm.
FEMA publications can help with drawings and specifications for things like anchors, hurricane roof clips, flood proofing, and other ideas, or visit the FEMA web site at www.fema.gov.
"Following this advice will help you eliminate many of the problems and difficulties caused by the disaster," said Wells. "It is a good investment of time and money