The coastal areas that we service are home to some of the most beautiful locations for properties…from Pensacola, FL & Orange Beach, AL with their beautiful white sugar sandy beaches, Coastal Louisiana with its eclectic culture, gorgeous bayous & rich history, all the way to South Carolina with its beautiful mountain ranges, Spanish moss and oak trees, adding to the many factors we consider when we begin the process of building or purchasing a home.
Often, when making the decision for a new property, we ask questions like: How many bedrooms will we need? What type of schools or activities are there in the area? How far will the commute to work be? Is there an HOA (homeowner’s association) that will required fees and what are their rules? —Which are all great questions that’ll have an impact on how you will go about your daily life.
But the one question that some forget to consider, is how safe is your new home in the event of a tornado, hurricane, hail, fire, or other natural disaster?
The Cost of Living in Disaster Prone Areas
Living on the coast may be beautiful but can be expensive, especially if your area is struck by a natural disaster. According to statista.com, “Eight out of ten of the most expensive natural disasters in the U.S. were hurricanes, with the most expensive being Hurricane Katrina in 2005, with 182.5 billion U.S. dollars.” Research expert Jennifer Rudden, with the aforementioned company, noted that “in the United States, losses related to the insurance of homeowners amounted to around 67 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, representing the highest recorded figure for the 2012-2021 period. In 2013, these losses amounted to approximately 35 billion U.S. dollars, what would represent an increase of around 30 billion dollars in a span of 8 years.”
In 2020, there were a record breaking 30 named storms in the Atlantic region and 21 named storms in 2021. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), forecasted an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, estimating between 14-21 named storms for 2022, and at the end of the season (November 30) saw 14 named storms, including 8 hurricanes, of which 2 developed into major hurricane in 2022.
Being Disaster Smart Means Being Prepared
For shoreline homeowners living in these catastrophic, weather-prone areas, there are measures that can be taken to lower the risk of damage to your home, such as:
- Keep any large tree limbs trimmed/away from your home, specifically from hanging over your roof
- If you have gutters, keep them debris free, to direct rain/storm water off of your roof and away from your home’s foundation, so that it maintains its structural integrity
- Ensuring that any outdoor furniture or other unsecured outdoor entertainment appliances/vehicles (i.e. bikes, BBQ grills, or trampolines) are brought indoors or secured
- installing opening protection (shutters, impact windows, or impact rated doors) as wind inside the home can cause enough pressure and/or lift to demolish the property
- Certifying that your home is built to withstand high winds from the top down (your roof to wall connections/hurricane straps)
Nobody can guarantee that a home will not be damaged during a natural disaster like a tornado (which can give little, to no notice) or hurricane. However, with the FORTIFIED program, homeowners can rest assured that their home is built to minimize the risk of extensive damage from natural disasters. Contact us today for more information how to ensure your home is protected.
by Renea Dumas