BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kids headed back to school aren’t the only ones with valuable lessons in their futures. You can get potentially life-saving lessons on disaster-resistant construction when the Federal Emergency Management Agency comes to local building supply stores Aug. 16 to Aug. 20.
FEMA staff will set up near the main store entrances each day from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to give advice and provide how-to materials for making structures safer and stronger.
“You can strengthen walls, ceilings and rafters with metal strips as well as straps and ties,” said Jeff Byard, state coordinating officer for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. “This kind of construction transfers the load path from a building’s roof to its foundation when the structure is threatened by high winds.”
The construction methods exceed building code requirements in many areas. Although “code-plus” construction can cost more initially, the extra cost is balanced by the investment’s potential to save lives and property.
“The payoff is a building that can resist much higher winds than a building normally built to code,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne of FEMA.
Society benefits, too. A study by the National Institute of Building Sciences suggested that every $1 spent on mitigation in building saves society an average of $4 by preventing future damage. So, for example, $2,500 spent on better construction could prevent $10,000 in future disaster damage.
During the building store outreach, FEMA staff also will have information on building safe rooms for both new construction and existing structures. Safe rooms can provide “near-absolute protection from tornado activity,” Byrne said.
FEMA staff will be set up near the main entrances at the following stores Aug. 16-20, from
7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
Home Depot Home Depot
4045 Lawson Ridge Dr. 1460 Highway 280
Madison, AL 35757 Alexander City, AL 35010
Home Depot Clanton Ace Hardware & Building
350 Crystal Water Dr. 202 6th St. S.
Oxford, AL 36203 Clanton, AL 35045
Home Depot Lowe’s
2710 Legends Parkway 4501 U.S. Highway 231
Prattville, AL 36066 Wetumpka, AL 36092