A few years back, it would have been hard to believe that technology would come as far as it has. Today, the world is experimenting with holographic telecommunications, flying cars, artificial intelligence… And improving on everyday technology such as what is being used to secure homes from outside threats, including pests, burglars and fighting against nature.
Storms can be devastating to homeowners, ruining not only the fabrication of the house but also it could lead to rot and infestation of pests. That is why it is important to look into efficient options that meet required regulations as regulations are in place for a reason. For instance, “Florida imposed new mandatory building codes after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, at first locally and then statewide in 2002.” making Florida’s standard the “highest mandatory code in the nation. Of course, there are other ways that you can protect your home further by employing the use of technology.
If you stay in a particularly storm-prone area, there are certain fortifications you may make to the house that will make it essentially (but not completely) hurricane-proof. The highest cost goes into more durable doors and windows, which are impact-proof. Shutter systems can also be implemented in order to give a second layer of protection to the house, and also investing in a steel roof.
One particular house in Florida remained standing after Hurricane Michael took out his neighbour’s house which was built to the highest standard. The homeowner spoke about the fortifications he has done to make it more durable, which includes elevating the house 12 feet above the ground and anchoring it 28 feet into the ground. On top of that, he encourages the use of pour concrete walls as they are much more stable and can withstand a lot more.
There are many people in this world who share that homeowner’s sentiments of having a home that is able to last, in the face of weather and natural disasters. After all, that is why humans have taken to building houses, to escape from the rain and sun by placing a roof over their heads. Why stop there?
A home in California survived a bushfire that consumed everything else, from his car to his neighbour’s homes. Despite engulfing the bungalow, it emerged almost completely unscathed, if not for the broken windows and soot damages. “Nobody within a half mile of me had a house,” the homeowner said. “Everyone’s burned down. But not mine.” As a medical helicopter pilot, he was relocated to the high-risk area, prone to fires and earthquakes. Wanting something that could be, as he said, “future-proof”, he set to building just the kind of shelter he needed.
Using a special building material composed of polystyrene foam, steel and concrete, which can “withstand up to two hours of exposure to fire” and “an earthquake registering up to 9.0 on the Richter scale, and sustained 300-mile-per hour winds”, it looks like the Californian homeowner found his perfect match. While he noted that it cost him approximately 20% extra to build his home from fortified materials, he also knew that it would save him thousands of dollars in the future from potential damages such as saving his house from being completely damaged. After going through the experience, he was able to move back into his home after two days of pressure washing his home and restoring it, whereas his neighbours had to report their homes as total losses to insurance companies.
There are also instances of a flood-proof home on the coastline of New Jersey. Unwilling to part with the scenic views of the ocean, the homeowner constructed his house in such a way that it provided water with a route to come in and leave. Essentially integrating his home into nature instead of fighting against it. Before he was able to build his house, he made sure to study the land and see how the water interacted with it before incorporating his dream onto the land.
However, that kind of creative thinking would not have been able to save the residents of Maryland, when they experienced a flash flood in 2016. The devastating disaster claimed the entire neighbourhood, despite the fact that the town was built according to a flood map which should have kept the town safe. Residents blamed global warming and a scientist who studied the catastrophe mentioned that the rate of development has also played a part, explaining that it is replacing the natural terrain with impervious surfaces such as concrete and asphalt which does not absorb water. Having no place to go, it is inevitable that it would turn into a flash flood.
Small towns in America have to take note of climate change and the rate of development in their neighbourhood. In upgrading their malls and putting up commercial lots, they should also pay attention to their sewers and water systems, ensuring that they are not setting themselves up for a disaster.