Disney Attraction Demonstrates How To Storm Proof Your Home

Thursday, November 10th 2011, 12:03 am
By: News On 6

ORLANDO, Florida -- 2011 will go down as the deadliest year in modern weather history. More than 500 people died in 2011 due to tornadoes and extreme wind storms. At least 162 died in Joplin, Missouri alone.

As we rebuild, how can you make your home safer from wild weather? An exhibit at Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando demonstrates building techniques that can make the difference between your home surviving a storm, or not.

The exhibit opened in August 2009, but organizers have noted a renewed interest with this year's violent weather.

"Walt Disney really embraced collaborative sponsorships," said Stacia Wake, Disney Marketing.

The exhibit is called 'Storm Struck', the Tale of Two Homes, an educational and entertainment experience sponsored by FLASH, The Federal Alliance of Safe Homes.

The goal is to help people understand how to rebuild a home after a disaster. The home is built to resist winds of up to 130 mph, equal to that of a strong EF2 tornado.

More than half of all tornadoes that occur are EF2 rated or less. That is why building standards and special techniques are so important here in tornado alley.

"For too long we use to try and scare people into good behavior by showing pictures of destruction and expect them to change their beliefs. With Storm Struck, we have the opportunity to teach them ways to empower them to be safe, but they are having fun at the same time. When you are having fun and learning and you are being empowered all in one, it sticks," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, CEO of FLASH.

Kids and adults experience a 4-D, 130 mph tornado hitting a home complete with trees flying, telephone poles falling and missile-like debris from other homes. Wind and water add to the reality and make for a very realistic experience that teaches the kids what can happen in a tornado.

So the question is how can you make your home safer? How much would it cost and when is the best time to do it. this?

"If your home is built to modern building codes, your costs are going to be a lot less. With time, we have gotten smarter by studying homes after damaging tornadoes and usually for less than $5000, you can make very solid improvements to the quality of your home," Chapman-Henderson said.

There are six improvements that will make your home safer:

  • Roof angles are very important because they catch the wind.  
  • Hip roofs are better than gable roofs.
  • One-car garage doors will withstand more wind than a two-car garage door.
  • Additional brackets where the roof support meets the wall support will strengthen the resistance to strong winds.
  • Planting deep-rooted tress like oaks, magnolia and black jack will help break the wind and protect your home.
  • Wind-resistant asphalt shingles with more nails are better than other roofing material.

And finally you can get a safe/reinforced room certified to the National Storm Shelter Association standard for the strongest tornado.