PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - After the whipping winds and rain of Hurricane Charley subsided, residents of Port Charlotte ventured out to inspect the damage. The extent of damage to older homes in the neighborhood ranged from moderate window and roof damage, to homes that were substantially damaged or totally destroyed. In the midst of all this, the Fodor home, remained almost without damage. A window was broken in the front of the house, when a piece of tile from a nearby house came through it and several of the roof tiles were knocked off from debris hits as well.
A local builder constructed the home three years ago. It was important to the Fodor’s to have the house constructed by someone who would pay attention to details. They selected a builder that had an established record for quality construction. "We needed a strong house," said Mrs. Fodor. "This is more than just our home. I’m in the antique business and the house serves as a storehouse and gallery for many of my unique pieces. We expected our house to protect us and our antique collection because we trusted our builder," Mrs. Fodor said.
The Fodor’s house is not unique. Construction is wood frame with stucco exterior, and cement, barrel tile roof. The house was built to comply with the local floodplain ordinance and building code in force in 2001. A basic, safe, strong, and storm resistant home is affordable to people building a new home.
Most of the older homes in the neighborhoods were substantially damaged. When homeowners there start to rebuild using the current Florida building code, the entire community will become more storm resistant. Then, if another hurricane like Charley comes to Port Charlotte, the homes will sustain less damage from wind, rain, and windborne debris. There will be fewer, less extensive repairs, and less cleanup. Best of all, people will be able to return to their homes and daily routines more quickly.
To learn more about pre-storm mitigation projects, rebuilding, and information on making your home safer, stronger and more storm resistant, go to the FEMA website, Mitigation Division, at http://www.fema.gov/fima. There is also information on "safe room" construction; rooms resistant to the effects of intense hurricane and tornadic winds.
In addition you can download a copy of Florida’s "Handbook of Hazard Mitigation Projects" from http://www.floridadisaster.org/BRM by clicking "BRM Publications" under "Resources" in the sidebar.
Contact the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). for tips on making repairs after a storm. Call 1-877-221-7233(SAFE) to get your free copy of "Seven Things You Need to Know Before Rebuilding Your Hurricane-Damaged Home."
Although the Fodor home did a great job of "weathering the storm," the owners are now going to add storm shutters to all the windows. They are also replacing the entrance doors with a stronger door system that has barrel bolts at the top and bottom of the jam to hold the doors closed against high wind events. "We understand that you have to take action and prepare yourself and your property to protect yourself from storms," said Mrs. Fodor.