A Designing for Disaster book tour kicked off this month with a stop at the Orlando Home and Garden Show. Show-goers had the opportunity to obtain signed preview copies of the book and listen to a presentation: Defensive Measures–How to Protect Your Home from Severe Weather.
The tour continues through the fall with stops at home and garden shows in Corpus Christi, El Paso, and Baltimore. It includes a February 2 appearance at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington D.C. More signings and presentation will be added throughout the fall.
The presentation, based on research done for the book, includes advice for both people who own a home and people want to build a new one. Designing a new home to resist fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of good information to go by. local building codes rarely provide full protection.
Your options are limited when retrofitting a home to resist natural disasters. Homeowners who live in regions prone to wildfires landscape the yard to create a defensible perimeter that makes it difficult for wildfire to reach the house. That means regularly pruning trees, clearing brush, and stacking wood far from the house. People who own homes in flood-prone regions could waterproof the foundation, install back-flow valves, and make sure water drains away from the house.
Unfortunately, many resilient features outlined in the book — like bracing walls to resist lateral earthquake forces, or raising the house on piers so that flood waters could pass underneath — would be expensive retrofits. That’s one reason why it’s important to design for worsening whether when homes are first built.