AURORA, Ill. – As thousands of structures in Illinois are being rebuilt or repaired due to damage from this spring’s severe weather, state and federal emergency management officials are urging homeowners and business owners to take steps that will minimize damage from future storms.
“We know that disasters of this kind will occur again, but Illinoisans do not need to continue experiencing the same losses,” said W. Michael Moore, the federal official in charge of disaster recovery. “In addition to gaining a safe, more damage-resistant home or business, strengthening a structure might someday save a life. It also could enhance a property’s value and save money by reducing insurance premiums.”
Illinoisans living in flood-prone houses are encouraged to raise electrical components as well as ventilating and cooling equipment above potential flood levels. Electrical system components, including fuse and breaker boxes, meters, switches, and outlets are easily damaged by floodwater. If inundated for even a short period, an electrician or the local municipal building department should be consulted.
“There is no better time to do this than when your home is being repaired and the disaster is fresh on your mind,” added Moore.
Rebuilding to make structure more disaster resistant is called hazard mitigation.
Homeowners and business owners should discuss with their contractors the following hazard mitigation measures:
- Installation of appropriate roof bracing.
- Installation of storm shutters.
- Bolting walls to the foundation.
- Installation of masonry ties, which help to secure brick walls to the wood structure.
- Elevating basement furnaces.
- Replacement of a weak garage door, which can create entry for wind that can easily lift an unstrapped roof.
- Elevating the entire structure above potential flood levels.
Information on how to help protect your home is available free at any of the FEMA/state Disaster Recovery Centers, or at one of the Mitigation Outreach events at home improvement stores.
Individuals and families living in one of the designated counties for Individual Assistance may be eligible for help if the damage occurred between April 16 and May 5. They should register with FEMA to begin the process.
They can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. People who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS) can call 800-621-3362. For more information visit the Illinois Disaster website www.fema.gov/disaster/4116.
The deadline to register for FEMA disaster assistance is Tuesday, July 9.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
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