IBHS Provides Property Protection Resources to Residents in Tornado-Prone Areas

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As attention turns to recovery, IBHS offers useful repair and rebuilding guidance

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We cannot undo the tragic events of this spring, or last year, but we can change future outcomes for the better by taking steps now to reduce losses and the level of catastrophic damage wrought by windstorms.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recognizes that this is an emotionally charged time for the nation, as entire communities in several states face lengthy recoveries from losses following recent deadly tornado outbreaks.
“Our hearts go out to all those who lost family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors as a result of these catastrophic storms,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “As attention turns to recovery, IBHS offers useful repair and rebuilding guidance on its web page here: Before and After Tornadoes: Resources to Prepare Before and Rebuild After the Storm.
Specifically, information about the following topics is available:

Last year, more than 1,600 tornadoes were recorded in the U.S., resulting in the deaths of 550 people. In fact, if it were taken as a whole, the spring 2011 tornado season would rank as the fourth-costliest disaster for insured losses in U.S. history, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
“We cannot undo the tragic events of this spring, or last year,” Rochman said, “but we can change future outcomes for the better by taking steps now to reduce losses and the level of catastrophic damage wrought by windstorms.”
According to IBHS engineers, only a few specialty buildings are designed to withstand the direct impact of a severe tornado in the EF-4/EF-5 range; however, these most intense tornadoes represent only about two percent of all tornadoes.
“Although, at some point, even the best engineering can be overwhelmed by natural forces and the laws of physics, homes and commercial building that have been strengthened in critical ways definitely can increase the likelihood that at least part of the structure will remain standing to provide some shelter and protection for people in harm’s way,” noted Rochman. “We can – and should – work to significantly narrow the path of losses when it comes to tornadoes. For example, by getting the roofs right, we could narrow the damage path from the broadest point, where we see relatively low wind speeds blowing off roof cover, blowing out gable ends, or where sections of roof are sheared off.”
For example, Rochman added, if homes were built to the FORTIFIED® stronger, safer construction standard, “we could shift the EF scale up one step from a damageability perspective, largely eliminating EF-0 damage (roof cover), and significantly reducing EF-1 (roof decking, gable ends, porches) and EF-2 (roof partially or all gone) damage.”
IBHS building science experts are available to speak about wind-related building performance for residential and commercial properties, the behavior of tornadoes and their destructive patterns, and building codes.
Related information that is available includes:

To arrange an interview with an IBHS expert, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, jking@ibhs.org or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.

About the 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 to residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.

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