There are numerous disaster hazards that could impact the residents of Louisiana. While not everyone is threatened by every hazard, everyone is likely at risk for more than one. Fortunately, precautions taken for one type of hazard often provide protection against other hazards.
For hazards involving high winds, to remove trees that are greater in height than in distance from the house, remove potential wind-borne missiles, secure siding or exterior sheathing, secure roofs, and brace gable end roof framing.
Tornadoes bring extremely high winds and the threat of hail. Roofs in poor condition should be retrofitted to withstand potential wind and water damage. Window films that protect glass from shattering during a storm add another layer of protection. This is discussed in greater detail in the section on windows and doors.
For those in area of the state prone to ice storms, be sure the roof is in good repair to lessen the chance of leaks, make sure gutters and downspouts are cleaned out and functioning properly, and trim back any overhanging limbs that could fall on the roof due to the additional weight of the ice.
For wildfires, make sure all electrical systems meet building code, remove branches that overhang the roof, remove trees that are greater in height than in distance from the house, use fire resistant plants around the house, and remove all debris that could be fuel for a fire.
Often, historic homes benefit from having mature trees that provide shade and reduce energy costs. The trees and landscape may themselves be historic features of the site worthy of preservation. If this is the case, actions taken to reduce disaster risks must be balanced with the need to preserve historic character. These decisions inevitably require compromise and must be made on a case-by -case basis.
Dam failures, levee failures, hurricanes, and flooding all involve water and so, will require similar precautions detailed later in this booklet. Elevating or wet floodproofing a building above the Design Flood Elevation (DFE) or Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is recommended to decrease damage from these hazards. Installing a backflow valve in the building’s sewer connection will prevent waste from coming into the home during a flood.
Making sure that a home can structurally withstand flooding and raising utilities above the DFE or BFE will help decrease damage. Strengthening the foundation by bringing it up to or greater than code-required levels helps prepare for storm surges along the coast. Making sure all the components of the building are tied together and anchored properly to the foundation reduces risk from the forces of storm surges, other flooding water, and wind.
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