SALEM, Ore. -- As Oregonians make resolutions for the New Year, disaster recovery officials urge them to include rebuilding their homes safer and stronger to lessen the impact of future natural disasters.
Rebuilding after a disaster presents an opportunity to reconstruct in a much safer, stronger and smarter way. Implementing mitigation measures now can reap savings in time and money say officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Oregon Emergency Management Agency (OEM).
Some measures to reduce damage from water and high winds are fairly simple and inexpensive; others will require a professional contractor licensed to work in the state, county or city.
It is important to ensure any re-construction work meets current state and local building codes. Exceeding the requirements of the building code with a "code plus" approach to rebuilding increases the disaster resistance of the house and decreases the chance of major structural damage from wind or water. A professional home builder, architect, contractor or building supply retailer may provide invaluable information.
The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes - FLASH, Inc. - is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting disaster safety, property protection and economic well being by strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. The Web site, www.flash.org features animations guiding a home owner or builder through the latest tested and approved mitigation techniques for the home.
Blueprint for Safety, a comprehensive training program designed for building professionals at www.blueprintforsafety.org, teaches building professionals about the latest disaster-resistant techniques and products.
FEMA's "How To" series at: www.fema.gov/protect-your-property-or-business-disaster can be viewed, downloaded and printed, or copies may be ordered by calling 1-800-480-2520. The series features illustrated guides about such topics as reinforcing garage doors and anchoring fuel tanks.
Residents living in hazard prone areas should always evacuate if told to do so by authorities.
Here are some tips for protecting property from wind:
- Opening Protection
One of the most effective ways to reduce damage to the home is to install protection on the home's openings (windows, skylights and doors), such as impact-resistant windows and doors and/or storm shutters. Purchase or make shutters for all exposed windows, glass surfaces, French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights. Typical types of manufactured storm shutters include wood, aluminum and steel. Ensure shutters are installed following the manufacturer's guidelines.
- Roof Bracing
Roof failures, especially in unbraced gable roofs, are a common cause of major damage to houses and their contents in high winds. Check to see whether the roof framing is braced. If unsure whether the roof is adequately braced, check with the local building department. After inspecting the roof framing, a building official can tell whether bracing is required and if so, how it should be added.
Exterior doors should be wind and impact resistant or protected with an impact-resistant covering. Many houses are equipped with double entry doors. Because double entry doors span a wider opening than a single door, they are usually not as strong as a single door and are more susceptible to wind damage. Add a heavy-duty deadbolt or replace the existing deadbolt with a stronger one, add side bolts at the top and bottom of the inactive door, and replace the existing hinge attachment screws, in both the doors and the door frame, wit...