Posted by: Stephen M. De Blasio Sr., Federal Coordinating Officer, Connecticut Tropical Storm Irene
In my last blog post, I talked about how FEMA is reaching out in the community to help survivors of Tropical Storm Irene rebuild smarter. Since the response to sharing these rebuilding tips in Connecticut has been positive, I’d like to share how one Connecticut couple benefited from using some of these techniques.
Tropical Storm Irene’s fierce winds collapsed houses into the Long Island Sound along the Connecticut coast, and rocked some homes off their foundations. In many cases, second floors of houses along the coast were destroyed. Some residents said the storm was the worst they had experienced in 50 years.
One couple, John and Regina, even found seashells strongly embedded into the second floor deck of their house in East Haven. However, their home suffered significantly less damage than neighboring homes because of some smart building techniques that had implemented long before the storm.
A seawall, which helped deflect the force of the waves, was in place when John & Regina bought their nearly 100-year-old house in 2003.
The couple then implemented a few other techniques to protect their home against flooding, most of which were relatively simple to accomplish. Below are photos of these techniques in action – to learn more about protecting your home from flooding, visit Ready.gov/floods.
Elevate Critical Appliances & Outlets
They installed their hot water heater and furnace in their attic and elevated their house in 2006 – raising their deck to 14.5 feet above the surface of the beach.
Two air conditioning units and an electrical box are stored on a platform that fits them alongside the house, on the second floor level. The platform can be reached by service technicians and meter readers by a service staircase built especially for such access.
Above: This staircase was built specifically to lead to a platform on the exterior of a home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn. where two air conditioning units and an electrical box are stored. The equipment, elevated to the second floor of the home, was not damaged during Tropical Storm Irene.
Electrical outlets have been elevated at least four feet higher than normal.
Above: Moisture-resistant cement board is being installed in this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn.; Electric outlets have been elevated to minimize damage during future flooding.
Protect the Exterior of the Structure
Breakaway walls were installed on the ground level of the house.
Above: Breakaway walls (just above the sidewalk) helped reduce damages to this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn. during Tropical Storm Irene.
Permanent storm shutters frame the front windows of John & Regina’s house; rolling shutters protect the back windows of the house, which faces the rugged waters of the Long Island Sound.
Above: Permanent rolling shutters helped reduce damages to this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn. during Tropical Storm Irene.
Four feet of sheetrock and insulation, damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, was removed and will be replaced by moisture-resistant insulation. The moisture resistant insulation will be installed behind a panel of cement board.
Above: Moisture-resistant insulation is being installed in this home along the Long Island Sound in East Haven, Conn.