Half of Fla. Homeowners Ready for Hurricanes

May 24, 2005

More than half of Florida homeowners participating in a recent statewide survey have taken action to protect their homes from hurricanes. An even larger number recognizes the importance of the state’s building codes in reducing property losses from these events, and many think the codes should be even stronger.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and sponsored by State Farm Insurance ®, an IBHS member, found 53 percent of participating homeowners have taken steps to better protect their property from damage due to hurricanes.

When asked about preventing and reducing hurricane damage, 72 percent of the homeowners said they were “very” or “moderately” concerned about the threat of such damage. Only 11 percent were not concerned at all.

When asked about the state’s building code, 83 percent of respondents recognized that Florida building codes were very important in reducing hurricane damage, and 40 percent believed they were not strong enough.

“The 2004 hurricane season presented strong evidence that homes constructed under modern building codes are much less vulnerable, but not immune to damage from wind,” said Kurt Gurley, associate professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering. “And the Building Commission is moving swiftly to shore up the weak points that last season’s hurricanes revealed. Public support for continued improvements to the code helps move that process along.”

“We’re pleased to see lessons learned from last year’s hurricane season have not been lost, and that a significant number of Florida homeowners have taken action to better protect their properties from these terrible events,” said Harvey Ryland, IBHS president and CEO. “But, clearly, many homeowners still need to get started. And with the 2005 hurricane season only days away, there’s no better time than right now.”

IBHS says protecting a home’s doors and windows should be a top priority. The organization recommends homeowners install permanent anchors for panels, shutters or some other appropriate material now. That way, when storms threaten, these openings can be protected quickly and easily.

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