Recommended: Reinforcing structural members to meet building code. Making sure components are tied together to work as a system. Raising utilities above BFE, anchoring utility components, and bringing all utilities up to code.

Buildings have many parts that work together as a system to create a safe and secure shelter. When one of these parts fails or is compromised, the home suffers catastrophic damage. For example, hurricane straps fitted to the roof will do little to prevent damage if the building is not also tied to its foundation.

Top: Re-wiring masonry buildings after Hurricane Katrina. Image Credit: NPS|Sean Clifford

Top: Re-wiring masonry buildings after Hurricane Katrina. Image Credit: NPS|Sean Clifford

Electrical or heating and cooling systems may need to be updated to meet today’s needs and safety requirements. With modern cooling and heating systems, today’s electrical needs are much greater than in the past. Consult a professional to ensure the home is safe and meets code. When performing routine upgrades to air conditioning, electrical, or other systems, it is always best to look at changes or additions to make them more disaster resistant. When it is necessary to update the wiring in a house, use the opportunity to look into raising outlets and wiring above flood levels. Electrical systems stand a better chance of withstanding flood damage if wires are run from the attic down instead of from the floor below. This approach is also applicable to air conditioning units that are located close to the ground. By elevating and securing these units above the base flood level, there is a better chance of retention after a storm.

Bottom: Modern reinforcements between foundation and walls. Image Credit: NPS|Sarah Marie Jackson

Bottom: Modern reinforcements between foundation and walls. Image Credit: NPS|Sarah Marie Jackson

It is unlikely that any one retrofit will be enough to protect the home. At a minimum, the foundation, roof, and windows should structurally meet today’s construction standards and need to be protected with reinforcement against potential hazards. These critical parts need to be as strong as possible and tied to each other to decrease the chances of catastrophic damage. An unsound roof that is hit by a storm with strong winds and rain will lead to roof damage and water intrusion that can greatly increase the cost of damage. Damage to the roof will allow in water, causing further damage to the building’s interior features and personal possessions.

References

Anchor Fuel Tanks, FEMA

Improve Your Home and Prosper, LSU AgCenter

Raise Electrical System Components, FEMA

Additional Resources

Sustainable Historic Preservation, WBDG Historic Preservation Subcommittee

Uniform Construction Codes

 


BackBack  
Table of Contents
RightNext
Download Resilient Heritage: Protecting Your Historic Home from Natural Disasters (GOHSEP)

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119