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Disaster Preparedness: A Dollar in Time Saves Six Down the Line


By Naomi Millán Emergency Preparedness

Every dollar spent on hazard mitigation can save up to $6 in future disaster costs, according to a recent report by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). In addition, every dollar spent in new buildings to exceed select code requirements in the 2015 International Building Code can save up to $4.

In the Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report, NIBS examined the effects 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). The hazards focused on included hurricane, tornado, wildfire, flooding, and earthquake.

Studied hazard mitigation strategies for existing buildings included adding hurricane shutters, tornado-safe rooms, strengthening structural components against earthquakes, and reducing fuel load in vegetation surrounding a facility.

For new buildings, studied strategies to exceed minimum code requirements included exceeding minimum earthquake strength and stiffness requirements, and complying with the 2015 International Wildland-Urban Interface Code to improve fire resistance.

In addition to FEMA, sponsors of the study include HUD, EDA, the International Code Council (ICC), the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management.

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