FEMA encourages Henryville residents to rebuild stronger, safer homes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security are encouraging residents to rebuild stronger and safer homes to reduce future storm damage.

Henryville, Ind.

One month later, Henryville resident Michael Irish still remembers what it was like when that powerful tornado pummeled his family's home.

"As soon as I grabbed the dog and shut the bathroom door, the whole house, the back of our house collapsed," he said while standing in his newly rebuilt kitchen. "I was thanking God and I was pretty happy I was alive."

Like so many other families, he is rebuilding the house destroyed by high winds and strong hail.

At the same time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security are encouraging residents to rebuild stronger and safer homes to reduce future storm damage.

Construction and repair companies are also offering help.

"You can see which houses made it through the storm and which ones didn't," said Ashton Guthrie of Mark Guthrie Construction.

He is working on Irish's home and said older homes suffered more damage than the newer ones.

"The hail was so big that it came through here and put massive holes in here," he said as he pointed at Irish’s living room wall.

Guthrie’s team immediately replaced the plywood in the roof.

"This is a three quarter inch plywood. It's a lot thicker so the hail actually won't go through it."

FEMA urged residents to add metal connectors to homes to improve the transfer of wind and weight loads through the house from the roof system to the foundation. It also advises using metal doors instead of wooden ones that are not designed to withstand strong winds.

Fortunately for Irish and his family, their home already had a metal door which was still intact.

All the upgrades suggested by FEMA can sound pricey, but Guthrie said they're pretty affordable. Those metal connectors that could save your roof, he said, cost about 50 cents a pop.

For Irish and his family, it's a worthwhile investment, just in case.

"Just be more prepared next time,” said Irish, “in case anything like this ever happens again. Which I hope not."

You can find more tips from FEMA on rebuilding or repairing storm damaged homes online.
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