The Importance of Resilient Housing
Post Hurricane Michael, infrastructure built with low-cost reinforcements stands tall.
Two weeks ago, Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida panhandle as a Category 4 storm. It decimated towns and ravaged infrastructure with a natural power that hasn’t been seen in Florida since the 1990s. The storm destroyed thousands of homes, many of which were only piles of rubble when their owners returned. Surprisingly, a select number of homes stood intact amongst the debris.
In the early 2000s, Florida introduced a stricter building code in response to the destruction caused by 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. The code required that all new homes had to be built with stronger nails and puncture-resistant walls. While these reinforcements make a difference, the houses that stood strong during Hurricane Michael were further fortified by affordable reinforcements. Some of these low-cost reinforcements include metal connectors, stronger window shutters, and additional nails. Although these additions are small, Hurricane Michael proved that they make a difference during natural disasters.
“Often the difference between a roof that stays on and one that flies off is the connection methods… A handful of additional nails can mean the difference.” -- Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
In light of all the devastating disasters of late, I believe that resilient housing should be a national discussion. Politicians and local officials could do their part by facilitating conversations about reinforcing infrastructure to protect citizens during natural disasters. Different organizations can begin building more infrastructure with additional reinforcements. Habitat for Humanity (an organization that already focuses on constructing “fortified homes on a shoestring budget”) built a number of houses in areas hit by Hurricane Michael, all of which stand undamaged. From this, it is clear how easily we can develop resilient infrastructure at relatively affordable prices if we make it a priority.