TAMPA – August 25, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The 22nd anniversary of Hurricane Andrew on August 24 provides a sobering reminder of the destructive power of hurricanes and the damage they can do to communities. Andrew caused approximately $23 billion in insured losses, left 250,000 people homeless, damaged and destroyed 82,000 businesses and more than 25 people were killed. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) studied the building damage caused by several hurricanes, including Andrew, and designed a recently launched construction program, FORTIFIED Home™– Hurricane, which strengthens homes against the high winds and wind-driven rain of hurricanes.
“Andrew devastated southern Florida and was the second costliest hurricane to affect the United States based on insured losses,” said Julie Rochman, President and CEO of IBHS. “It changed the way we think about hurricane preparedness and has helped shape both IBHS’ laboratory research and building guidance. The FORTIFIED Home – Hurricane program is a great example of this.”
The program helps homeowners build safer, stronger new homes, and retrofit existing homes with targeted improvements. It provides a uniform, voluntary, superior set of standards to help increase a home’s resilience by adding system-specific upgrades to minimum code requirements. One of the most unique and important aspects of the program is that every FORTIFIED Home is inspected by an independent, third party, certified evaluator – before, during and after the upgrades are performed.
“The FORTIFIED Home – Hurricane program enables homeowners to make informed decisions about maximizing their investment in disaster-resilience, and achieve peace of mind knowing their home will be as strong as possible when hurricanes strike. It’s not a matter of if another big hurricane will hit the U.S. like Andrew, just when and where,” Rochman said.
The FORTIFIED Home program is affordable at every price point and uses a unique systems-based method for creating stronger, safer homes. Employing an incremental approach, the program has three levels of designation – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Builders and contractors can work with home buyers and homeowners to choose the level of protection that best suits their budgets and resilience goals.
“Another key feature of this program is that it starts by focusing on the roof, which is the most important and most vulnerable component of every building. Your roof is your first line of defense against Mother Nature, so you want it to be as strong as possible,” noted Rochman.
Learn more about the FORTIFIED Home – Hurricane program, and visit www.DisasterSafety.org/hurricane to learn about other effective actions you can take to strengthen your home, business, and community to make them more hurricane-resistant.
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About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices. Visit www.DisasterSafety.org for more information about creating resilient communities and the FORTIFIED Home program.