On October 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. Having already wrought havoc across Central America, the Category 4 storm became the third most powerful hurricane (in terms of minimum central pressure, a key indicator of strength) ever to hit the contiguous United States. By the time the storm finally cleared, it had tragically claimed 60 lives and some $11.28 billion in damages.
Continue reading “Made Even Stronger: Mexico Beach Home Rides Out Hurricane Michael”
As we’ve seen with the hurricane seasons of that past decade or so, homes are not always built to withstand a major storm. The hurricane season of 2017 was one of the deadliest and costliest seasons in US history. Countless homes and buildings were severely damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands of families displaced. It will take years for communities to rebuild and recover from such devastation.
Fortunately, there are solutions that can help protect your home from a hurricane or high-wind event.
Continue reading “Hurricane Season: Understanding High-Wind Home Preparation”
Disaster strikes. It’s inevitable, given enough time. Regardless of where you live, there are natural disasters waiting to happen, be they earthquakes, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes. Meteorologists and emergency service providers can often provide advance notice of weather-related disasters like hurricanes, but seismic events, tornadoes and flash floods can often occur with little or no warning.
In the wake of recent catastrophic events such as Superstorm Sandy (233 deaths, $75 billion in damages), the 2011 Joplin tornado (158 deaths, $2.8 billion in damages), and Hurricane Katrina (1,245 deaths, $108 billion in damages), emergency management experts are increasingly evaluating the benefits of sheltering in place as opposed to evacuation. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), sheltering in place is generally advisable when it may be dangerous to leave your home or place of employment.
Continue reading “Staying Put, Riding Out the Storm and Surviving the Odds by Sheltering in Place”
When you live in earthquake country, you know it’s not “if” there will be a big quake, it’s “when.” You may have an earthquake emergency kit ready, but there are also steps you can take now to strengthen your home to make it more resistant to earthquake damage. And if you live in California, there’s a program called the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) that provides up to $3,000 for seismic retrofit grants to homeowners residing in more than 150 California zip codes. If you’ve checked it before and your zip code wasn’t listed, be sure to check it again because the list has been expanded. Continue reading “Earthquake Brace and Bolt Helps California Homeowners Retrofit”
From hurricanes and earthquakes to wildfires, floods, freezes, droughts, severe storms and more, natural disasters plagued the United States in 2017. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) reports that 2017 could be a record-breaking year for disasters that cause over $1 billion in damage. As of October of 2017, NCEI reported 15 such events in the United States, only one fewer than in the record year of 2011. Without going into the details of why these events occur — we’ll leave that to the scientific community — there are ways to prevent damage and destruction by building resilient communities and structures.
Continue reading “Picking Up the Pieces — Examining the Effects of Hurricane Harvey”
On a Sunday morning in late August 2014, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake surprised Napa, California residents and caused structural damage to many homes and businesses in the area. One of the most powerful earthquakes in Napa’s history, local news outlet KQED reported $300 million in damage to homes and commercial properties.
Napa is right in our backyard, about 60 miles north of Pleasanton. Many Simpson Strong-Tie employees felt the quake, but fortunately no one was injured. If you’ve ever been in a large earthquake, you would probably agree that it’s a frightening and unsettling experience. And unlike other natural disasters, there’s no warning. Here is one woman’s story about the Napa earthquake:
Continue reading “Protecting Your Home from Earthquakes”
If an earthquake were to strike at this very moment, are you confident your home is adequately constructed to withstand it? Depending on where you live, how your house is built—and the year in which it was originally constructed—an earthquake could have a devastating impact on your physical and financial health.
We’ve all witnessed the catastrophic impact that large earthquakes can have on society recently, and our hearts go out to those affected in Mexico who are picking up the pieces. Since October is Earthquake Preparedness Month and October 19 is the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill, we thought we’d share some steps homeowners and building owners can take to help minimize the risk of damage.
Continue reading “Protecting Homes Against Earthquakes With Seismic Retrofitting”
Whether you’re buying a new home or planning to stay in your current home for years to come, it’s important to make sure the building you live in is structurally sound. The following earthquake checklist will help you determine whether your house is properly connected and reinforced to withstand an earthquake.
Continue reading “Earthquake Checklist: How to Prepare Your Home”
There’s been a lot of discussion recently about resilient buildings and resilient communities, including what it means to be resilient, why it’s important, whether it’s possible within budget constraints, and how it can be achieved. The 100 Resilient Cities Rockefeller Foundation initiative defines “urban resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”
The discussions have noted that communities are made up of several components that are necessary to consider when developing a plan for resilience — such as buildings, infrastructure, water, power and communication. Even though community resilience is multi-faceted, the resiliency of buildings is a crucial component because research shows that Americans spend 90% of their day inside buildings.
Continue reading “Creating Resilient Buildings and Communities”
You might not think you live in earthquake country, but at least 42 states are considered at moderate to very high risk earthquake zones. As you evaluate your home’s ability to withstand an earthquake and prepare for a seismic retrofit, knowing these simple steps will help ensure that your home is structurally sound and earthquake resistant.
Continue reading “5 Tips for Homeowners Living in Earthquake Zones”