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Release date: 
June 7, 2013
Release Number: 
DR-4086-NJ NR-166

TRENTON, NJ -- In any disaster, buildings constructed to a higher standard not only reduce property damage but also save lives and money through lowered insurance premiums.

Fred and Cecilia Harvey were on vacation following the progress of the storm on TV when they saw news video of the damage Superstorm Sandy left in their hometown of Holgate.

The Harveys were able to see damage to most of the homes in their neighborhood, but could not see their home on the newscast.  The couple was allowed back in their home 11 days after the storm and felt lucky they found only minor damage. A week later the couple was able to begin cleanup.

The Harveys had their home elevated when they bought it in 2000. There was no previous storm damage to the home, but “we knew we would feel safer if we elevated the house.”

The home was lifted off the old foundation, then set back down on a new poured, reinforced concrete foundation structure with 12 flood vents.

The Flood Insurance Rate Map then current indicated the Base Flood Elevation was 9 feet. The FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevation is also nine feet. The Harvey home is 15 feet above mean high tide.

“The peace of mind, and the reduced flood insurance rates, really justifies the cost of elevating our home,” Harvey said. “Just look around and see all the damage to our neighbors’ residences and most of them have not completed repairs to the structures. We were able to return to our home as soon as the local officials allowed us to.”

Mitigation - damage prevention measures taken before the storm hits - is key to decreasing the time it takes to re-build and recover after a disaster.

By using existing, proven plans and building standards, mitigation allows individuals and communities to lessen post-disaster disruption and rebuild more quickly. Long-term hazard mitigation planning and projects enable communities and individuals to break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction and repeated loss.

Mitigation has been proven to lessen the financial impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Floodplain management actions save the country more than $1 billion in prevented damages each year.

Home being raised, view of block pilarsFred and Cecilia Harveys’ house in Holgate, NJ, during and
after construction in 2000 which raised the home
to 15 feet above mean high tide.
The Harvey’s suffered minimal damage from Superstorm Sandy. 
The Harveys’ neighborhood was not as lucky

Home completed after mitigation work

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Last Updated: 
June 7, 2013 - 17:34
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