BATON ROUGE, La. — If you have property affected by the February tornadoes in Louisiana, your first step to repair or rebuild should be to check with your local building official. That’s the person who can work with you or your contractor to ensure building permits are properly filed and necessary inspections are carried out.
Local ordinances may require permits for repairs to roofs, walls, siding, wallboard, plaster, insulation, paneling, cabinets, flooring, electrical systems, plumbing, septic systems and heating and air conditioning systems.
Once you have secured the proper permits, mitigation experts say that is the time to repair and rebuild safer and stronger by taking some smart steps. Those steps, carried out with the help of trained and qualified professionals, include adding a safe room, structural bracing, strapping and anchoring of walls and roofs, and using impact-resistant glass.
But there are also mitigation techniques that you can do yourself. Some may cost less than $50:
- Put on a strip: Install weather stripping on outside doors and windows to help seal out air and even water. Benefit: It’s relatively easy to install, is effective and durable and comes in a variety of colors.
- Caulk it up: Use caulk to seal all exterior openings such as holes where wires, cables and pipes enter or exit a structure. Benefit: In severe storms, a well-sealed exterior helps to keep out wind-driven rain and overland flooding.
If you have questions about home repair or improvements, FEMA mitigation specialists will be at the Home Depot in New Orleans from March 7 through March 17. The store is located at 12300 I-10 Service Road, and the specialists will be there from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more mitigation ideas and information, visit https://www.fema.gov/mitigation-ideas- and-tips-rebuilding.
Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts and safety tips. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation. The latest feature of the app allows you to send notifications to your device to remind you to take important steps to prepare your home and family for disasters. Go to www.ready.gov for more details.