New Owner Takes Over First Disaster-Resistant Habitat for Humanity Home

April 18, 2005

Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, Florida handed over the keys recently to a brand new home that reportedly has special features to protect it from disasters and keep the owner safe.

The new home, on Golden Rod Road in Thonotosassa, is the first Fortified … for safer living Habitat home in Florida, and the third Fortified Habitat home in the country.

The Fortified program is a national initiative featuring construction
options to better protect new homes from natural disasters. The program is sponsored by the Tampa-based Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), which is supported by member insurance and reinsurance companies.

Fortified protection generally goes beyond what is required by local
building codes, with guidelines in Florida better safeguarding homes primarily against high wind, wildfire and flooding, the state’s costliest natural perils. The Fortified designation is granted by IBHS after verification by a qualified inspector.

Construction features in the Thonotosassa Habitat home include:

* Non-combustible (metal) roof materials that also better withstand high winds;
* Heavier roof deck held more securely in place and protected by a secondary moisture barrier;
* Double-paned windows protected by shutters;
* Reinforced entry doors;
* Non-combustible exterior materials: stucco, aluminum soffits and facia;
* Building site and landscaping techniques that reduce wildfire and flooding vulnerability.

A $10,000 St. Paul Travelers Foundation grant funded the Fortified upgrades for this and a number of other Habitat homes in the Tampa area. The grant was made on behalf of First Floridian Auto and Home Insurance Company, a Travelers personal lines company and an IBHS member.

The Fortified … for safer living program kicked off in October 2000 with three homes in Pinellas County, and has now expanded throughout the state and into North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Louisiana, with other projects underway.

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