As part of the Hurricane Katrina recovery process many Alabamians are reportedly taking steps to repair or rebuild their homes and businesses.
It is possible, by using proven mitigation techniques, to protect against flooding and wind damage if a disaster should strike again. Mitigation is defined as “the actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects.”
The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourage the use of mitigation. Here are some repair measures that can help avoid or reduce future damage:
* Installing shutters to protect windows against high winds;
* Strengthening roofs and walls with hurricane clips and straps;
* Bracing interior walls and partition;
* Rebuilding with flood-resistant materials, such as plastic sheeting & treated wood;
* Elevating mechanical equipment and utilities like furnaces & washing machines;
* Installing backflow valves on plumbing fixtures;
* Using vapor barriers in wall insulation to protect against moisture.
Property owners should always obtain proper building permits and check with local building inspectors before beginning construction or making repairs. When modifying foundations or roofs, homeowners may need to consult an engineer to be sure structural specifications can be met.
Information on repairing or rebuilding a home or business is available by calling FEMA’s publication number at 800-480-2520; ask for the booklet FEMA 312, Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting. It can also be ordered online at www.fema.gov/library/prepandprev.shtm.
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