OTTAWA, Ill. - Illinois residents who are repairing or rebuilding from recent severe storms and tornadoes are facing many choices - and opportunities - regarding how they put the pieces of their homes and lives back together.
State and federal emergency management officials are hoping some of those choices will include techniques that can help prevent damage in future storms. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are inviting the public and those in the building trades to the following Wind-Resistant Construction Techniques Workshops to learn about building stronger and safer:
7 p.m., Wednesday, May 5
Illinois Valley Community College
Room F 114
7 p.m., Thursday, May 6
201 West Jefferson Street
Workshop attendees will learn that building better can greatly improve their odds against the threat of serious damage to their homes from tornadoes, straight-line winds and severe storms. Presenters will explain how implementing simple framing techniques designed for increased wind resistance can minimize property damage to homes from tornadoes and severe storms.
"We know that disaster-resistance techniques work because we've seen examples where damage was reduced or prevented in other disasters, and we're doing what we can to educate residents about these proven techniques," William Burke, IEMA director and state coordinating officer, said. "Right now, people have a second chance to take preventive measures as they rebuild. We hope they'll consider implementing some of these methods that will better protect their families and homes."
Workshop topics also will cover how to build an in-home, above-ground tornado shelter called a Safe Room. A Safe Room is designed to withstand extreme winds, with steel-reinforced concrete or steel sheathing to make the walls and ceiling virtually puncture-proof. Safe Rooms serve as an alternative to evacuation and can provide peace of mind when severe weather threatens.
"Safe Rooms save lives," Lee Champagne, FEMA federal coordinating officer, said. "There is no better usage of time and money than to help prevent possible reoccurrence of wind-damaging tragedy, and the techniques taught at these workshops can help people do just that."
Borrowers that are approved for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed real estate may request a loan increase of up to 20 percent for mitigation purposes. Those that are interested in a loan increase, to fund protective measures that prevent damages of the same kind from reoccurring in future disasters, should submit a proposal to SBA that describes the mitigation measure to be installed along with a cost estimate of the project. Proposals will be reviewed on a case by case basis and every attempt to approve the additional funding, subject to the administrative limits, will be made by the SBA.
Background information on mitigation is available from many public sources, including the Internet and Illinois public libraries. Mitigation is the process of building or rebuilding to reduce loss of life and property during future disasters. IEMA coordinated the distribution of mitigation resource materials to all 800 libraries in the Illinois library system. Mitigation Internet resources include: www.fema.gov/hazards/tornadoes; www.state.il.us/iem...