The Next Best Thing to a Free Roof!

Disaster-Smart, Inc. works closely with MyStrongHome by handling the FORTIFIED evaluations.  “This is a phenomenal program for the homeowner” states Darius Grimes, CEO, Disaster-Smart, Inc.
The only thing better than a FORTIFIED roof is a low-cost or free FORTIFIED roof. If you can’t wait on the Strengthen Alabama Homes grant, MyStrongHome could finance your new roof based on the insurance savings from a FORTIFIED Home™.

Your home’s roof is its first line of defense against hurricane and other windstorm damage. A FORTIFIED roof is one of the best investments you can make to increase the protection of your home and potentially reduce your out of pocket costs, long-term. The only thing better than a FORTIFIED roof is a low-cost or free FORTIFIED roof. That’s the aim of the Strengthen Alabama Homes grant program whose goal is to make communities stronger, lower insurance costs, and provide a way for homeowners to fund FORTIFIED Home™ upgrades.

But what do you do while you wait for your grant to come through or for the application to open again? We’re not sure when that may be, it could be over a year or more and if your roof is old, damaged or leaking, you probably can’t wait on the grant. Good news, there is an option that is the next best thing to free, and it could help you get a new FORTIFIED roof before the next hurricane.

MyStrongHome can finance your new roof based on the insurance savings earned when you get a FORTIFIED roof. It’s based on a concept called “Cash-flow neutral” financing, meaning that your new, lower cost monthly insurance premium + your monthly roof loan payment will be no more than you are currently paying for just insurance today. MyStrongHome calculates the insurance savings over time and fronts the money to pay for the cost of your new FORTIFIED roof.  So, while it technically isn’t free, your out-of-pocket costs do not go up, which, for most of us, is the next best thing to free.

A few real MyStrongHome customer examples might help explain how it works; we aren’t using real names, but the numbers are real and reflect actual insurance premium savings and construction costs:

James Garrison in Baldwin County, Alabama saved $3,012.00 on his annual insurance premium and financed the full cost of his $17,000.00 FORTIFIED metal roof.  He paid $0 up front, and his combined monthly premium and construction loan payment was $385.00, the same amount he was previously paying just for his insurance!  When his construction loan is paid off in 7 years, approximately $250.00 per month in insurance savings will go in his pocket.

Linda Davis in Mobile, Alabama saved $761.00 per year on her insurance.  We were able to finance all but $804.00 of the $9,600.00 cost of her FORTIFIED roof.  Her new combined monthly payment is $186.00 which is only $3.00 more than she was paying for insurance alone.

Cassandra Harris of Mobile, Alabama is an example of how MyStrongHome can work with the Strengthen Alabama Homes grant program or other grant programs such as South Carolina’s Safe Home program. Ms. Harris’ FORTIFIED roof was going to cost $16,880.00, and she didn’t have the $6,880.00 over and above the $10,000.00 grant. MyStrongHome saved her over $2,000.00 per year on her insurance, financed the additional amount she needed for her roof, and was able to fund another $3,800.00 for the replacement of rotted siding and other much-needed repairs.

Not everyone will save as much money or be able to cover as much of the roofing costs as these homeowners, but they are not exceptions. You can learn how much you can save on insurance by visiting today.

Even if you don’t use MyStrongHome, you could still save a substantial amount on your insurance with a FORTIFIED roof depending on where you live and who provides your insurance coverage. Regardless of how you pay for it, FORTIFIED is the best investment you can make in your home, and it will pay for itself well within the useful life of your roof.

Visit or call 800-804-0410 to learn more.


Posted on Thursday, August 23rd 2018

ZIP System® Sheathing and Tape for Resilient Roofs

ZIP System sheathing and tape when used in roof assemblies helps meet FORTIFIED Home national resilient building standards.  Take a few minutes to review this post.

Storm season is coming, and with it, a heightened sensitivity to protecting jobsites and the durability of homes down the road. Resiliency is all about a home’s ability to be re-inhabited after a natural event. Builders are now adopting methods and products to build roof decks designed to withstand wind-driven rain in a high wind event. Incorporating “sealed” roof decks not only helps protect the most vulnerable area of a home should storms blow the roof covering off a finished home, but with integrated sheathing that eliminates the need for felt, it can also help achieve a quick, rough dry-in during construction.

Next-generation engineered panel system, ZIP System® sheathing and tape, has an integrated roof underlayment that eliminates the need for felt and is completed with an advanced acrylic tape at panel seams for a strong, water-resistant sealed roof deck. When used in roof assemblies, ZIP System sheathing and tape helps meet FORTIFIED Home™ national resilient building standards. FORTIFIED Home™ is a program of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). IBHS is a nonprofit research and communications organization that aims to strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of damage. The FORTIFIED Home national resiliency standard aims to mitigate disaster-related risk through the use of innovative construction techniques. Builders and homeowners seeking a FORTIFIED Home certification for potential insurance benefits are inspected by a FORTIFIED Homes professional and certified at a bronze, silver or gold level.

At a minimum, FORTIFIED Homes call for a sealed and taped roof deck as part of its roof assembly requirements, which can be easily achieved with ZIP System Sheathing and Tape.* Because the water-resistive membrane is manufactured into panels, the system installs quickly and includes protection against water intrusion at panel seams with high-performance ZIP System™ flashing tape.

This streamlined sealed roof deck can be a strong component in increasing a home’s resiliency. In many areas, residential building codes do not require a sealed roof deck. However, a simulated hurricane test conducted by IBHS demonstrates how a FORTIFIED Home-detailed roof assembly with a sealed roof deck can prevent uplift and water and wind penetration.

“I would encourage any builder looking for more resilient construction practices to visit to see the video IBHS produced during this test. The numbers are staggering, and the difference in damage between a home with a sealed roof deck versus one with an unsealed deck is dramatic,” said Matt Minchew, general manager of ZIP System roof applications.

To learn more about ZIP System sheathing and tape in roof applications, visit

*FORTIFIED Home™ is a program of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). Not all homes built using ZIP System® sheathing and ZIP System™ tape will qualify for a FORTIFIED Home designation.  Homes require compliance with all FORTIFIED Home™ technical requirements and inspections. Visit for details.


Disaster Smart is one of the small number of Certified Evaluators for the FORTIFIED program in the coastal area.  Give us a call at (888) 964-8776 to discuss
how we can help you reach your FORTIFIED designation.

FORTIFIED is the new normal in construction. It is a set of engineering standards based on over 20 years of research.

Home and Business owners are strengthening their properties against storm damage by using FORTIFIED construction standards. Whether building new, re-roofing or retrofitting an existing property, FORTIFIED is affordable and effective at any price point.

FORTIFIED is a nationally recognized building method and standard based on over 20 years of scientific research and real-world testing and observations by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)

It is code-plus and exceeds the vast majority of building codes by improving the performance of buildings against natural hazards and reducing the risk of personal property losses.

The unique systems-based, tiered approach requires documenting and verifying all aspects of construction, ensuring homes and businesses are built to the standard.

There are FORTIFIED standards for coastal and inland construction. Each standard will reduce damage from the specific weather-related threats a building will face, including hurricanes, hail, high winds, and low-level tornadoes.

Inland, IBHS engineers believe property damage from EF-0, EF-1, and low-level EF-2 tornadoes can be virtually eliminated using FORTIFIED standards.

On the Coast, properties are strengthened against the devastating power of tropical storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms and straight-line winds.

A FORTIFIED Evaluator is the only professional who can help you earn a FORTIFIED Designation and take advantage of all the programs benefits.

The program starts by focusing on the roof, which is the most important and vulnerable part of every building.

There are three levels of FORTIFIED Home™ designation – Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

The FORTIFIED Home program
helps homeowners strengthen their home against the devastating power of severe weather

The FORTIFIED Commercial Program makes new and existing commercial buildings more resistant to damage from severe weather

FORTIFIED is a set of engineering and building standards designed to strengthen new and existing properties from storm damage through system-specific building upgrades.

Shut the Doors on Florence

“Here is a very simple thing to do to reduce damage risks whether you stay or if you go.”

Coastal storm approaching?

Close all interior doors, in addition to all windows and exterior doors, to reduce damage risks.

Closing interior doors can give your roof a fighting chance in a severe wind storm. If a window or door is broken by flying debris or has blown open, your house will rapidly fill with air (imagine a balloon inflating inside your house) and cause a dangerous increase in peak forces pushing on the roof. In our testing of a 1,400-square-foot single-story home at the IBHS Research Center, we found that simply closing the internal doors reduced by 30% the amount of extra load the roof had to withstand in this situation.

Click here for additional science-based guidance to protect your home or business.

Hurricane Prep – Before and After

A hurricane headed to you is a very stressful situation for you and your family.  Do I go or Do I stay is constantly going through your mind.  But with an evacuation plan in place for your family, along with better understanding of how to deal with the aftermath of the storm, you are better prepared in case of an evacuation order.  This is an excellent article to help you in the process of Hurricane Prep.

Plan for a Hurricane and Prepare for Your Recovery. Be Ready After the Storm – visit

Don’t Goof Hurricane Recovery

Click the photo to download the PDF.

Don’t Goof Hurricane Recovery. Be Ready After the Storm – visit What you do now to prepare for a hurricane can determine what happens over the weeks and months ahead. When a major hurricane hits your area, plan to deal with repairs, rebuilding, insurance, and fraud.

What you do now to plan and prepare for a hurricane can determine what happens over the weeks and months ahead. When a major hurricane hits your area, expect to deal with repairs, rebuilding, insurance, and fraud.

The days before a hurricane are vital – use these resources from IBHS and to prepare and protect your home and family.

Plan for after the hurricane. Visit for resources and information you’ll need to navigate rebuilding, insurance claims, building better with FORTIFIED construction, and FEMA disaster aid.

If you have questions, email or call 1-855-742-7233.

Know your zones and routes: How to leave home safely if a hurricane prompts a mandatory evacuation order

This article is very informative and gives you and your family an opportunity to become knowledgeable of your evacuation route ahead of a storm.  It also shares tips on what you and your family should do in case of a mandatory evacuation.
By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer

As September is National Preparedness Month, now is a better time than any to learn your evacuation routes if you live in an area that might have to evacuate when severe weather strikes.

When Hurricane Irma threatened the southeastern United States coast in September 2017, nearly 7 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes in parts of Georgia and Florida. It’s considered one of the largest hurricane evacuations in U.S. history.

As powerful Category 5 Hurricane Rita barreled toward the Gulf Coast in September 2005 before weakening to a Category 3 upon landfall in Louisiana, an estimated 3.7 million people fled the Houston area and Texas coast, according to a report from the House Research Organization.

While some evacuations might give you and your family a few days to prepare in advance, other situations might call for an immediate evacuation.

This is why knowing if you live in an evacuation zone and being aware of evacuation routes ahead of time can be critical in the event that local authorities issue a mandatory evacuation order for your area. Experts advise not to ignore orders to evacuate.

“It’s very important to know about where you live in regards to a low-lying area because once the storm surge from a hurricane hits, it can easily flood your area, home and community and cut off your escape routes,” said Edward Colson, president of Oregon-based Ready Northwest, a national emergency management and preparedness firm.

“Since it [can flood] during the actual storm, your chance of evacuation is minimal, as responders are also seeking shelter,” Colson said.

Evacuation orders are generally issued for the threat of storm surge, which is the deadliest component of a tropical storm or hurricane, and not for the winds the storms produce, according to Dr. Amber Silver, associate professor for the University at Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

“If you’re in a mandatory evacuation zone, then you’re in a region expected to receive significant and perhaps catastrophic flooding from which you are at serious risk of injury or death,” Silver said.

To find out if your home is located in an evacuation zone, check the websites of your local and state emergency management divisions, which should provide a wealth of information on evacuation zones and routes for your area.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) provides a list of evacuation zones for certain states and counties here. If you can’t find this information online, Silver advised contacting your local municipality.

Evacuation zones and routes map for Palm Beach County, Florida

This map shows the evacuation routes and zones for residents of Palm Beach County, Florida. (Photo/Florida State Emergency Response Team)

Experts also recommend listening to local meteorologists, emergency management and authorities to find out if your area is being evacuated.

In some evacuation zones, designated evacuation routes will be marked by signs, often featuring some combination of blue and white text, pointing away from coastal areas toward higher ground.

“When evacuating, leave as early as possible and bring your 72-hour emergency preparedness kit with you, because you don’t know how long you’ll be on the road or away from home,” Silver said.

Seventy-two hours is about how long it takes to successfully and safely evacuate a region, according to Silver.

Why you should evacuate ahead of a hurricane
Evacuation checklist: How to get your family out safely in the face of an imminent disaster
Psychology of warnings: Why do people ignore important weather alerts?
6 essential apps to have on your phone for when natural disasters strike
Avoid these 5 common, potentially deadly mistakes when a hurricane strikes your area

“You do not want to be stuck in gridlocked traffic with a dangerous storm bearing down on your location,” she warned. “We saw this happen during Hurricane Rita, and numerous people died in their cars on the highway as a result. “

Experts also advise sticking to designated evacuation routes, even if there’s a lot of traffic.

“Seeking your own evacuation route can be harmful, as these roads may be cut off due to floodwaters or not have access points,” Colson said. “You are up against the clock, and authorities identify main evacuation routes for ease of passage.”

In the event that your family is forced to evacuate, follow these tips from the American Red Cross to get out of harm’s way safely.


Breaking the “Build-Destroy-Rebuild” Disaster Cycle

– A Statement from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

Learning from the 2017 Disasters to Create a Reliably Resilient U.S.

The Learning from the 2017 Disasters to Create a Reliably Resilient U.S. FLASH paper is a very comprehensive report on all 2017 Disasters from California Wildfires to Hurricanes.  It is well worth taking the time to read this report as it may open your eyes to using modern building codes whether you are rebuilding from a disaster or you may want to upfit your current home to help reduce damages from a disaster.


News provided by

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

Aug 23, 2018, 12:08 ET

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — As Hurricane Lane approaches the Hawaiian Islands, and the country marks the anniversaries of devastating 2017 disasters, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes is reminding leaders to embrace the best opportunity they have to ensure the safety and resilience of communities: modern building codes.

Building failure investigations have proven again and again that well-enforced building codes are the first and most important line of defense from natural disasters, yet far too many communities overlook this proven tool. Codes are one of the most powerful ways to ensure swift and successful “bounce back” after earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, but only if leaders ensure they are in place.

The breakdown not only occurs before the disasters strike, but often during disaster recovery as well. As explained in the June 2018 FLASH paper, Learning from the 2017 Disasters to Create a Reliably Resilient U.S., this sets up a cycle known as “Build-Destroy-Rebuild” where we build either without building codes or with outdated codes, natural disasters destroy our buildings, and then we rebuild the same way, thereby perpetuating the problem. The paper examines several of the major disasters of 2017 and explores what we knew, what we learned, and how we can move forward to break the costly cycle.

“The more time that passes after major disasters like Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the deadly California wildfires, the more difficult it is to maintain a commitment to building back better and stronger,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “That is why we are calling on state and local leaders to adopt and enforce modern building codes and standards, especially in communities without them today.”

After the 2017 experience, families are beginning to understand and demand strong buildings and communities that are prepared before disaster strikes. Now it is up to the local and state leaders to make it happen. Read the full commentary here.


The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. The FLASH partnership includes more than 100 innovative and diverse organizations that share a vision of making America a more disaster-resilient nation including: BASF Corporation, FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Huber Engineered Woods, International Code Council, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, and USAA. In 2008, FLASH, and Disney opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes, in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and access free consumer resources by visiting, calling toll-free (877) 221- SAFE (7233), following @federalalliance on Twitter, on, and the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.

SOURCE Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

Related Links

IBHS Offers Guidance as American Coastlines Prepare

This article from IBHS is a very informative hurricane preparedness expose’.  It is one of the most comprehensive one we have seen and is worth your time reviewing it.

NHC: Multiple Storms Churning the Atlantic and Pacific

Beware Hurricane Florence: Residents of the Carolinas, Virginia Urged to Document and Protect Property; Plan for Evacuation, High Wind, Flooding and Power Loss

RICHBURG, S.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Residents along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States should be preparing now for Hurricane Florence, expected to hit later this week. South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have each declared a State of Emergency based on the storm’s current conditions. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers clear tips and resources to help people understand and prepare for a range of hurricane hazards from severe high winds and storm surge to inland flooding.

Hurricane Florence is on a track for the Carolinas and Virginia. Residents are urged to plan for severe winds and a powerful storm surge as Florence comes ashore, and also for extensive inland flooding as the storm’s pace is expected to slow and deliver prolonged heavy rain over inland areas.

In addition, the National Hurricane Center has issued advisories for storms Helene and Isaac, behind Florence in the Atlantic, and in the eastern Pacific for Tropical Storm Paul, and in the central Pacific for Hurricane Olivia, now aiming for Hawaii.


Florence’s size enables it to intensify (or weaken) very rapidly; accordingly, people should be prepared to evacuate if/when ordered, a process that can be made easier by advance planning and preparation. Home, property and business owners can take many important, valuable steps to protect their property and limit possible damage, and to make any claims easier to file and process.

Please visit, save, print and/or share these resources for helpful tips, infographics, videos and more.

Protect Yourself, Family and Pets:

Protect Your Home; Limit Damage:


Weather disasters permanently close too many small businesses. Preparedness makes a difference. September is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Preparedness Month. This year’s theme? Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How. IBHS is a proud partner with the Small Business Administration and FEMA to help America’s small businesses prepare for disasters.


Contact Susan Millerick or Mark Friedlander to speak with any of the following IBHS experts:

  • Roy Wright, CEO and President
  • Anne Cope, PhD, P.E., SVP Research and Chief Engineer
  • Ian Giammanco, PhD, Lead Research Meteorologist
  • Gail Moraton, Business Resiliency Manager

About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

IBHS’ mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss.

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

Susan Millerick, 813-675-1066


Mark Friedlander, 904-806-7813

Source: Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

Storm Surge Kills; Can’t Be Outrun

Below is a very interesting article that IBHS has developed with help of several other entities.  It is well worth you taking a look at it.

What is Storm Surge?

Storm surge is the very fast, abnormal rise in seawater level during a storm, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide. The surge is caused primarily by a storm’s winds pushing water onshore. The size, speed and volume of the surge of rushing ocean water at any given location depends on a complicated series of factors. Learn more here from the National Ocean Center or here from the National Hurricane Center.

Meanwhile, know that more hurricane and tropical storm deaths are attributable to drowning in storm surge than any other factor. It can’t be outrun or outdriven; if evacuation orders are issued to you, leave without delay.

Storm Surge Is Serious; Be Prepared

Storm surge is a deadly, damaging force that comes with many coastal storms—from sub-tropical storms to hurricanes to nor’easters. Storm surge respects neither seasons nor boundaries. The following guidance could save your life or someone else’s.

  1. Storm surge poses a significant threat for drowning and property damage. Even just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet, and just two feet will carry away even trucks and SUVs.
  2. Take action and GO when an evacuation is ordered for your area. You cannot outrun or outdrive the incredible speed and power of storm surges. Know (find out today) if you are in a storm surge evacuation zone, and what route to take to safety. Always remember that evacuation routes can be cut off by storm surge in a matter of minutes.
  3. Storm surge can be a risk in ANY strong coastal storm in ANY season. Rely on local officials to guide your decisions; do NOT rely on your past experience with storms. Many details—tides, winds, size and speed of storm, and other factors—are used to measure storm surge risk to keep you and your family safe. Heed warnings.
  4. Both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are vulnerable to storm surge, which can impact areas several miles inland as marshes, rivers and other areas become inundated with fast-moving waters.
  5. If you can’t get out, emergency responders can’t get in during surge conditions. Evacuate so you don’t put other lives in danger.

For additional information, please visit the National Hurricane Center’s Tips for Storm Surge.

Storm Surge Survival Misconceptions

The storm surge is usually the most dangerous threat of a hurricane. Those lucky enough to survive Hurricane Katrina’s record storm surge shared their stories, shedding light on some common misconceptions about storm surge survival.

Misconception: Call 911 and you can be rescued, while the water is pouring into your home.

How? No one will be able to get to you. Water rises quickly—sometimes 6-10 feet within minutes; cars can’t drive in it and it is usually unnavigable by boats when it is coming ashore.

Misconception: Just stuff towels under the door jambs. Then rush around to start picking up things that are close to floor level, so you can save them.

Bad idea. In a minute or so the surge will burst open the door, and instead of standing in a room with four inches of water, you’ll be knocked off your feet and into whatever piece of furniture is closest. You’ll suddenly be in three or four feet of moving water that you can’t make any headway into.

Misconception: You’ll be able to maneuver around in the rushing water.

Probably not. Some people who drowned were not even able to get out of the room they were in when the water started pouring into the home. The speed of water in a surge can be equivalent to Class III or IV rapids (Class V is hardly navigable even by expert kayakers).

Misconception: You’ll know in time.

The surge is usually not a wall of water as is often assumed but rather a rapid rise of water of several feet over a period of minutes, meaning it can sneak in unexpectedly.

Misconception: You can outrun the storm surge in your car.

If you wait until the water is an inch high before trying to outrun the surge, the odds are that the surge will rise to over a foot high before you get your car out of the driveway. If the water is a foot high, the typical 10-15 mph speed of the storm surge’s current has enough force to sweep a car away. In many places along the coast such as the Keys, there is only one road out of a low-lying region prone to storm surges. In such cases, the storm surge will likely be moving perpendicular to the road, cutting off the only escape route.

Storm Surge Location Facts

  • From 1990-2008, population density increased by 32% in Gulf coastal counties, 17% in Atlantic coastal counties, and 16% in Hawaii (U.S. Census Bureau 2010)
  • Much of the United States’ densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level
  • Over half of the Nation’s economic productivity is located within coastal zones
  • 72% of ports, 27% of major roads, and 9% of rail lines within the Gulf Coast region are at or below 4 ft elevation (CCSP, SAP 4-7)
  • A storm surge of 23 ft has the ability to inundate 67% of interstates, 57% of arterials, almost half of rail miles, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area (CCSP SAP 4-7)