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Preparing For The Next Tornado; Workshop On Wind-Resistant Construction Techniques

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Release date: 
November 4, 2002
Release Number: 
Photo of FEMA Mitigation Specialist Michael J. Klitzke speaking with two man at Home Depot located in Greenwood.
Following severe storms and tornadoes in Indiana, FEMA Mitigation Specialist Michael J. Klitzke conducts a Workshop on Wind-Resistant Construction Techniques at a Home Depot located in Greenwood.

» Tornado Safe Rooms

Indianapolis, IN -- Taking steps to reduce damage from tornadoes and severe windstorms, mitigation experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offered technical guidance at Wind-Resistant Construction Workshops held recently near Indianapolis.

Depending on where you live, solid connections at foundation, walls, floors, and roof can provide greater safety. Persons residing near the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic coastline or in "tornado alley" extending from Texas and Louisiana to Michigan and Minnesota, can attest to extremely destructive winds.

During two workshops presented in the Indianapolis area for construction contractors (including some recent tornado victims), instructors explained that use of readily available metallic clips (also known as "hurricane clips") and straps can reinforce frame-connections -- roof to walls -- walls to understructure -- thereby redistributing wind pressures, from frame to foundation.

"The redistribution of destructive forces on a building helps minimize damage," said FEMA Mitigation Specialist Michael J. Klitzke. "It can mean the difference between disaster victims and those who are survivors."

During a thunderstorm, blizzard, hurricane or tornado, the force of wind on a house works several ways:

  • Horizontal wind pressure causes "tilt" - such damage is also called a "shear."
  • Horizontal wind pressure also can cause a structure to move off its foundation - called "sliding."
  • Lateral force can cause a home to rotate off of its foundation - this is called "overturning."
  • Wind flowing over a building can result in the roof being ripped from the structure - this is called "uplift."

"A metallic clip or strap, here and there, to hold the whole thing together," said Klitzke, "allows survivors better to weather the storm."

Additional information may be found at a Website maintained by the American Society of Civil engineers:

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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