Rebuild Resilient Communities Following Sandy’s Destruction, says IBHS

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IBHS urges policymakers, home and business owners affected by the storm to build more resilient communities that will better withstand the next storm

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Now, in the aftermath of this catastrophe, we should honor those who lost their homes and businesses – and even their lives – by putting communities back together better, safer and stronger, so that this level of destruction does not happen again.

As the recovery phase of Superstorm Sandy begins and attention turns to repairing and rebuilding damaged property, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) urges policymakers, home and business owners affected by the storm to build more resilient communities that will better withstand the next storm.

“Sandy is a tragic reminder that hurricanes and tropical storms are not exclusive to the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions of the United States,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “Now, in the aftermath of this catastrophe, we should honor those who lost their homes and businesses – and even their lives – by putting communities back together better, safer and stronger, so that this level of destruction does not happen again.”

Conducting building science research to identify stronger, safer construction practices that will help save lives and reduce property damage related to natural and manmade catastrophes is the focus of the unique IBHS Research Center in South Carolina. The Institute uses results obtained from realistic, full-scale research tests conducted at the facility to develop clear guidelines for the design, construction, repair and retrofitting of residential and commercial structures, so that they can better withstand the effects of high winds and wind-driven rain, in addition to other hazards, such as wildfire ember storms and hailstorms.

Rochman noted that “Mother Nature doesn’t let up – she has already wreaked havoc in several communities his year, and she will continue to do that next year, and every year to come.” Unfortunately, she added, “for the most part, in the U.S., we build the same way, in the same places, over and over again after disaster strikes. We must – and we can – learn how to effectively break that cycle of devastation by significantly improving the hurricane resistance of residential and commercial property. Without a doubt, those who suffered because of Superstorm Sandy should take steps to minimize the chances that they will be storm victims again.”

One way to effectively harden buildings against hurricanes is to participate in IBHS’ FORTIFIED program, which offers hazard-specific guidance to build new homes and business and retrofit existing homes. FEMA uses this standard as the basis for its own wind hazard mitigation program. More information about the FORTIFIED standards can be found here: http://disastersafety.org/fortified/home/.

In addition, IBHS and the Insurance Information Institute recently released a Disaster App called Your Plan for iPhone. The app features property protection guidance from IBHS and provides a comprehensive set of resources and checklists, created by IBHS, consumers can use to help minimize property damage due to severe weather events and other disasters. Users also can build customized checklists, and can share their checklists with family and friends via email.

IBHS is a leading national expert on preparing for, and repairing and rebuilding structures after a catastrophe to make them more disaster-resistant. To arrange an interview with IBHS, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, jking(at)ibhs(dot)org or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.

Visit DisasterSafety.org for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, large and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on Facebook.

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About the IBHS
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is an independent, nonprofit, research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research in order to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses, and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss.

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