mitigating severe wind and rain damage
Severe winds are another storm-related hazard that can cause significant damage to homes. The wind itself can damage components of the home, particularly roofs, porches and other structures extending from the home. In addition, high winds can transform storm debris into missiles that can damage homes -- windows are particularly vulnerable to this kind of storm hazard.

The roof is the structure often most susceptible to severe winds. Furthermore, major damage to the roof of the home makes the whole home more vulnerable to storm hazards, mainly in that it exposes the interior of the home to wind and rain. Generally, the most effective solutions to properly protecting the roof from extreme weather are expensive procedures that have to be done by professionals. This includes the installation of thicker, sturdier roof decks (also known as roof sheathing - the layer of the roof immediately beneath the roof covering) that are properly fastened to the roof framing (the rafters and trusses). In addition, the installation of secondary water barriers, beneath the roof covering (i.e., shingles, tiles, metal panels) and on top of the roof decking, helps keep rain water from entering the home if the roof covering is blown off.

Photo courtesy of Blueprint for Safety / the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

There are several simpler, less expensive solutions that homeowners can do themselves. Namely, they can improve the connection between the roof deck/sheathing and roof framing and walls of the home. Homeowners can access this area of the roof through their attics. They can use relatively inexpensive connection hardware, such as metal connectors and clips, and adhesives to strengthen this vital connection in the roof. These simple techniques can improve the wind resistance of roofs by up to three times. These procedures can be especially useful for low- and moderate-income families who may not have the financial resources to pay for more expensive solutions.

State and Local Support for Disaster-Resistant Home Improvements

States and localities can develop educational efforts to inform and encourage lower income families to make low-cost upgrades. State and local entities can also provide small grant programs or arrange programs in which other citizens can provide volunteer labor and materials to help these homeowners with upgrades and retrofits. State and local governments can also fund and encourage more substantial loan programs that aid low and moderate income homeowners in making more substantial disaster-resistant improvements to their homes. The state of Florida's My Safe Florida Home program provides grants to individual households to cover or defray the costs of retrofits. Click here to leave this site and learn more about the My Safe Florida Home program.

Extremely high winds and flying debris can cause damage to windows. Just as with a damaged roof, damaged windows can leave the interior of the home more susceptible to wind and water damage. This can lead to destabilization and potentially total destruction of the house.

The most common and effective protection for windows is the installation of storm shutters. There are multiple types of storm shutters, including plywood shutters, metal panels, accordion shutters, colonial/swing shutters and electric roll down shutters. The appropriate type for a household depends on many factors including location of the home (which determines potential wind load/damage potential) and available budget of the household (due to the variable cost of the different shutter types. Another option is to install windows with wind-resistance glass. This solution may be done as an alternative to shutters or in addition to the use of shutters.

Solutions in Action
There are some notable online resources to provide information and instruction to homeowners looking to make their homes more resistant to disaster.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) provides online guide for homeowners with instructional videos and interactive guides. FLASH's Blueprint for Safety educational program provides advanced training courses for builders, engineers, architects and other residential construction professionals in addition to an online construction, renovation and rehab guide.

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) provides safe building resources for homeowners and construction professionals through its website The website includes a guide for specific home upgrades called the Fortified...for safer living program, which offers a package of upgrades and retrofits that greatly increase a new home's resistance to hurricanes and other disasters.

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Measures for mitigating severe wind and rain damage

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Measures for mitigating flood damages

Measures for mitigating earthquake damage

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