Reduce Impact of VA's Peak Hurricane Season with Simple Fortification of Home and Business
RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Within the Atlantic basin, peak hurricane season occurs from August through October, with maximum activity taking place from early to mid-September . Hurricanes and other violent storms can cause catastrophic property damage and even fatalities. In fact, this past June alone, windstorms and thunderstorms caused 13 storm-related fatalities in the Commonwealth. What can Virginians do to better prepare for the season? Fortify their homes and businesses.
"A lot of time and attention is devoted each year telling residents to stockpile adequate food and water supplies, fill prescriptions and keep cash on hand when a hurricane threatens – and rightly so," says Nancy Rodrigues, Program Manager of Build Smart Virginia. "But once the immediate storm danger has passed and it's time to return, will these well-prepared residents have a home to come back to?
"An equally important question is, if they are faced with major property damage or complete destruction will they make the right choices in rebuilding to avoid the same result the next time a hurricane threatens?" says Rodrigues. "New research is now available that can strengthen rebuilding practices throughout Virginia especially in vulnerable communities."
"Build Smart Virginia" is the latest program of EarthCraft Virginia, a nonprofit organization that educates Virginians about the benefits of energy efficient and fortified homes. The Build Smart Virginia Program relies on state-of-the-art research from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to provide information on ways to prevent or reduce the amount of property damage from a hurricane.
EarthCraft Virginia is hosting a one-day workshop for building industry professionals and government officials entitled, "Adopting Disaster Resilient Construction at the Local Level," which gives insight on how to integrate resilience planning into services and infrastructure needs. The workshop will be held September 7, 2012 at the Virginia Housing Authority in Glen Allen, VA and registration information is available at www.nrmca.org/resilience.
Detailed Suggestions on How to Reduce the Impact of Hurricane Damage
When it comes to protecting your property against hurricane damage, there are several key areas of your home or business that have been identified by the IBHS and promoted by Build Smart Virginia as the most vulnerable to damage. More details are available at www.DisasterSafety.org.
The roof is the first line of defense and takes a beating as wind speeds increase. The older the roof, the weaker it likely is and the more exposed it may be to winds and water damage. When re-roofing, strengthen connections between the roof and walls, re-nail the decking, add a wind and water resistant barrier, and choose a high-wind rated roof covering.
Large quantities of water can be blown inside vents when winds reach 90 mph, leading to major water damage and possibly ceiling collapse. IBHS testing has shown that approximately 75 percent of the homes that suffer significant hurricane damage lose soffit material. Make sure roof vents are well anchored and sealed and that soffits are well attached.
Windows and doors
When a hurricane strikes, windows and doors, including garage doors, can be blown open or broken, allowing wind and water inside. Shuttering these openings can reduce the risk of wind and water damage.
Porch roofs, carports, covered entryways, lanais, and screened rooms often are the first to fail in high winds. Proper attachment of the support systems for these structures is critical in a hurricane. Straps, anchor bolts or through bolts between the tops of columns should be used to support the roofs of attached structures and the roof framing of the home or business.
Trees, gravel, yard ornaments and other items outside a home or business can become windborne debris in a hurricane. Avoid using gravel or stones as mulch in hurricane-prone areas, bring in lawn furniture and other yard items when a hurricane threatens, and keep trees trimmed to reduce the risk of falling limbs.
About the IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.
About Build Smart Virginia Program
Build Smart Virginia program is the latest offering from EarthCraft Virginia, a 501c3 organization that educates Virginians about the benefits of energy efficient and fortified homes and the necessity to build sustainable resilient communities. It is currently overseeing the construction of the first "Fortified Homes" in the Commonwealth. For more information on Build Smart Virginia Program and EarthCraft Virginia, visit www.earthcraftvirginia.org.
 Hurricane Preparedness: Virginia, http://www.hud.gov/local/va/library/hurricane.cfm
Mary Beth Kramer
Build Smart Program/
SOURCE Build Smart Virginia Program
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