Imagine living in a resilient HabiTek steel framework during hurricane season in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, or any of the many other islands in the Caribbean. You learn that a hurricane is headed in your direction, but you only have two days to prepare. Past experience would compel you to gather up important possessions and make plans to evacuate out of the storm’s path. Of course, this can be a dubious proposition as often there is no place that isn’t in the storm’s direct path.
Fortunately, a house constructed with a HabiTek steel framework is pre-engineered to hold up in high winds and even storm surges. Let’s use HabiTek’s Adapt-2 model as an example. First, using the provided hand crank, roll up your canvas awnings securely inside the metal drums. Corrugated steel panels are already stacked on a rack under your elevated home. Prepared in advance, these shutters attach to the steel structure to cover windows and doors. Once secured, and all deck furniture brought inside, you can stay home during the storm. You can even reach out to nearby neighbors who live in vulnerable wood-framed houses, and invite them to weather out the storm in the safety of a HabiTek steel framework.
Enterprise Community Partners estimated that as many as 860,000 homes need to be replaced because of the destruction of Hurricane Maria alone. Add in the unfathomable destruction caused by subsequent Hurricanes Irma and Dorian, and it would not be a stretch to speculate that over a million houses have been lost in the past two years alone. We have an incredible responsibility, and opportunity, to employ a new model to rebuild these homes so that they will be better prepared for future storms.
In January 2018, the National Institute of Building Sciences issued a report on the potential savings of pre-disaster mitigation:
During the ongoing study, the Institute’s project team looked at the results of 23 years of federally funded mitigation grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and found mitigation funding can save the nation $6 in future disaster costs for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation.
This is quite an eye-opening figure, and logically suggests that investments made in more resilient infrastructure now result in significant cost savings when weighed against the catastrophic damage these hurricanes cause. Constructing resilient homes represents a great opportunity to rebuild these islands in a way that will help protect the inhabitants from the future threat of hurricane damage.