Batten down the hatches! There’s a storm a brewin’ off the port bow. Don’t worry, despite the sailor-y weather warnings, there’s no looming squall to be alarmed about (at least as I write this blog). But there’s plenty to be prepared for as the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that the June 1-November 30 season “will most likely be near-normal…[with a] 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms [with] winds of 39 mph or higher.”
Prepare for hurricane season, and other types of severe weather, with two FEMA publications that provide actionable information about home building tornado- and hurricane-prone areas.
This FEMA-produced series of 37 fact sheets presents technical guidance and recommendations for construction in disaster-prone coastal environments. To help you weatherproof your habitat from top to bottom, foundation to roof, this resource details construction need-to-knows. Divided into 10 different categories, the fact sheets represent various coastal building components and requirements that are distinct from those for inland.
Yes, the coast is pretty. It’s also a high-load, extreme-conditions environment. If living in a coastal home requires more upkeep, then building a coastal home certainly requires special consideration. Know thy flood zones! And follow the real estate credo of “location, location, location.” Homes in coastal areas must be situated, designed, and constructed to withstand the forces of coastal erosion, wind corrosion, and flooding from the ocean. To that end, “a building can be considered a success only if it is capable of resisting damage from coastal hazards and coastal processes over a period of decades.’
Exceeding minimum requirements of coastal building could mean a reduction in storm damage, building maintenance, and insurance premiums. Shoring up a coastal building against shore effects is an economic no-brainer.
When extreme winds from hurricanes and tornados threaten person and property, safe rooms can save lives. Building a safe room in your home and small business doesn’t require an advanced design degree or a bottomless bank account. With some sound information and planning, homeowners can work with a builder/contractor to stand up a safe room. As more and more people chose to live in the possible path of storms, a structure that provides “near-absolute protection, or a high probability of being protected from injury or death” is patently worth it.
This digital collection constitutes an update to FEMA’s original and impressively helpful guidance. Since the first edition was issued in 1998, “more than 1 million copies of the publication have been distributed, and nearly 25,000 residential safe rooms have been constructed with FEMA funding assistance.” The revised CD contains PDFs of illustrated floor plans, risk assessment criteria, and even a few examples of how safe rooms have saved lives.
Almost every state in the Union “has been affected by extreme windstorms such as tornadoes and hurricanes.” The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implores all citizens to “prepare, plan, and stay informed.” For more hurricane- and tornado-specific guidance, including how to make an emergency plan and supply kit, visit DHS’ https://www.ready.gov/.
HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?
Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.
- Click here to purchase Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction
- Click here to purchase Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business; Includes Construction Plans (CD)
- Click here to browse our Hurricanes, Typhoons & Tsunamis collection
Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.
About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.