When it comes to disaster resistance and preparedness, most mandatory building and construction criteria are based solely on risk; that is, the probability of a severe weather or other destructive event. However, the key to surviving an event is independent of its probability, and instead relies on the community’s preparedness for the resulting consequences. The best way to prepare is to build better, more resilient, buildings and infrastructure.
Read "Preparing for the True Impact of Natural Disaster" printable PDF
Shelter from the Storm
In 2012 Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the East Coast. Entire neighborhoods were destroyed, often with only one or two buildings standing on each block.
On one such block in Union Beach, New Jersey, the Sochacki family survived by taking shelter in the concrete home next door. They watched their 800-square-foot 1940s home blow away while riding out the storm in Karen Sochacki's mother's 2006 home built with insulated concrete forms (ICFs). After the storm, the concrete home was the only home standing on that side of the street.
After Hurricane Sandy, the public, more than ever, recognizes the long-term safety, durability, and value concrete building systems can provide. Overall, the building envelope is the ﬁrst line of defense against the intrusion of wind, water, wildﬁre, and debris. Many failures start when a component, or piece of light-weight cladding, is blown off, allowing wind and rain to enter. Uncontrolled entry of wind creates internal pressure, combined with external pressures, that can literally blow a structure apart.
There are a variety of ways to incorporate concrete to make projects more durable and disaster resistant. Concrete wall, ﬂoor, and roof systems offer an unsurpassed combination of structural strength, ﬁre, and wind resistance. Add hardened exterior ﬁnishes for walls and roofs, and your home or business will have the best combination of strength and security. Read "Preparing for the True Impact of Natural Disaster" printable PDF.
The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) has prepared Building Codes: The Foundation for Resilience, its commentary prepared for the Build Strong 2nd Annual National Thought Leaders Forum: Building Codes for a Stronger and Safer America. The commentary examines the American building code system, how a new tornado design philosophy is making it possible to build homes to withstand most tornadoes, and recommendations to strengthen the overall delivery of model building codes, standards and effective enforcement.
Read about the Breezy Point Project, a effort to re-build a home severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
Storm Safe Rooms
When weather makes a turn for the worst, it is critical for individuals to feel that they can be safe in a volatile situation. The most inherent danger to people and property during tornadoes and hurricanes is the flying debris carried in the high winds. Traveling at such intense velocity, any item turns into a missile that can cut right through a building wall and endanger the people inside. Learn more