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Hazard Mitigation

Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Investing in preventive mitigation steps now such as strengthening unreinforced masonry to withstand wind and flooding and installing shutters on every window will help reduce the impact of hurricanes in the future.

To withstand the forces of wind and water associated with severe weather, there are five major considerations:

  • Elevation. Elevation of the first floor must be above the added height of the storm surge plus tide values;
  • Gabled Roofs. If your roof is gabled, you need braces attaching the trusses or rafters at each end to the other truss. Also, make sure that there is wood sheathing (planks or plywood) behind stucco of the triangular gable end walls.
  • Garage Doors. Garage doors should have steel bracing. If yours does not, you can attach wooden 2"x6" stiffeners running the full width of the door approximately 18" apart.
  • Window Protection. Cover all windows, French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights hurricane because the doors and windows are the weakest places on your house. If these fail, the wind can rip off the roof and cause walls to collapse. Even if the structure remains intact, the wind can scour the interior and wreck the contents. Storm panels or shutters can significantly reduce damages.
  • Safe Room. Identify a safe room in your home and reinforce it as necessary.

Mitigation is defined as sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects. This definition distinguishes actions that have long-term impact from those that are more closely associated with preparedness for, immediate response to and short-term recovery from a specific event. The intent is to focus on actions that produce repetitive benefits over time, not on those actions that might be considered emergency planning or emergency services.

The rationale for mitigation is simple: it makes sense.