Mitigation Saves Time, Money And, Possibly, Lives

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Release date: 
November 8, 2006
Release Number: 
1662-023

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) are stressing the importance of using hazard mitigation measures when rebuilding, remodeling or building new construction to save time, money and, possibly, lives when future disasters strike.

Hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from a hazard event. In other words, it's the practice of preparing property to withstand damage from future disasters, such as tornadoes and flooding.

"Mitigation is recovery with foresight," said Larry Sommers, FEMA federal coordinating officer. "Hazard mitigation projects apply tried and true strategies and building practices. Far from simply returning a building or piece of infrastructure to the pre-disaster status quo, mitigation projects save time and money in the long run, and help save communities from much of the disruption that can accompany a natural disaster."

Indeed, a study by the Multihazard Mitigation Council, part of the National Institute of Building Sciences, shows that every $1 paid toward mitigation saves an average of $4 in future disaster-related costs.

"When people are rebuilding from September's flooding we urge them to rebuild smarter and stronger to lessen the impact of future storms," said Eric Dietz, IDHS executive director and state coordinating officer. "It's also important to check with local building officials for the proper building permits when repairing a home or business."

Disaster victims who qualify for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loan to help in disaster recovery may be eligible for mitigation funds. The mitigation funds are designed to help borrowers fund protective measures to prevent damage from future severe storms and flooding. To help victims pay for mitigation measures, the SBA will fund an increase up to 20 percent of their approved physical loan amount.

Officials urge residents to consider both wind- and flood-resistant building techniques. Some measures can be put in place for little or no cost. Others require more of an investment and construction work to be performed by building professionals. The following are general suggestions for rebuilding safer and stronger; more detailed information can be found at the resources listed below. However, strengthening measures are still no guarantee that a home will not be damaged or even destroyed by a tornado or other disaster.

PROTECTING PROPERTY FROM WIND

To minimize damage caused by high winds, emergency management officials suggest the following:

  • Anchor critical building components in three areas:
    • Attach roof rafters to the walls with a metal connector - most easily added when new roof sheathing and shingles are installed - to help the structure resist wind uplift.
    • Tie one floor to another with a continuous strap (nailed on the outside of the wall) or with a floor-tie anchor, nailed to the inside of the wall. 
    • Secure the structure to the foundation with connectors nailed to the studs and bolted into the concrete - also to help the structure resist wind uplift.

  • Fortify gable roofs by bracing the end wall of the gable to resist high winds. 

  • Take outside measures to minimize flying debris:
    • Replace landscaping gravel and rock with shredded bark.
    • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed.
    • Cut weak branches and trees that could fall on your house or those around you. 

    • ...
Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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