Benefits of Constructing a Disaster Resilient HomePosted On: Jan 15, 2014
First of all, there is really no such thing as a disaster proof home. No matter how well designed and fortified a home, the forces of nature will always have the potential to come out on top. Just like it is nearly impossible to be completely prepared for a natural disaster mentally and emotionally, no home can absolutely withstand any type of disaster. Damage to homes and infrastructure during a severe storm or other disaster is a natural outcome. The objective with good disaster preparation is to mitigate and reduce those damages to property through a high level of planning and more resilient construction strategy.
In many areas, new home construction undertaken according to disaster resistance standards. For example, homes in California may be built to better withstand seismic activity. Earthquake resistant bracing, foundation anchoring, and reinforced cripple walls in the building structure help to reduce the possibility of collapse or severe structural damage during strong seismic activity. In areas prone to high winds and severe rains resulting from tornadoes and hurricanes, reinforced structural supports and shatter resistant windows are often implemented. While there is little one can do if a tornado tracks across your neighborhood or a massive earthquake hits your city, having a disaster resistant construction can help prevent a collapse, better withstand severe weather, and generally mitigate damages and keep you safe during a disaster.
The steps to secure and better reinforce a home vary by necessity and cost. Modern building codes require adopting construction standards that better protect homes and residents from damages and destruction due to natural disasters. Common types of retrofitting include: foundation anchoring, bracing chimneys and garages, replacing windows, and securing appliances, shelving, and things like furnaces and water heaters. Many of these things apply more to earthquake retrofitting, but other disasters can necessitate these steps as well.
Often even slight seismic activity can cause severe structural damage to the foundation and walls of a home, so if you are in an earthquake prone area, consider taking steps better brace your home. For most other types of natural disasters, including disasters involving high winds and heavy rains, it is important to address obvious and not so obvious vulnerabilities and make any necessary upgrades to prevent serious damages. If you are in doubt, consult a building contractor or structural engineer to find out how you can improve your home’s construction to better withstand a disaster.