Elevation is Not Enough: Utilizing Smart Building Practices
This home in Slidell, La., whose homeowner chose to elevate to 16.4 feet and
incorporate several hurricane-resistant features into its construction, withstood
the winds and waters of the 2005 hurricane season.
Although the floodwaters beneath the house rose to 15 feet (within about one-and-a-half
feet of the floor joists), the breakaway walls survived intact, no water entered
the home, and the roof was not damaged.
The homeowner declared “Get it up in the air and build it strong! It just makes
sense to use good building practices when you know you're going to get a hurricane
at least every other year.”
In Mississippi, Diamondhead Home Is A Mitigation Blueprint
Homeowners in Diamondhead, Miss.,, consulted the FEMA publication “Home Builder's
Guide to Coastal Construction” when building their home and incorporated mitigation
measures that kept the home safe when Hurricane Katrina hammered the Gulf Coast
with 135-mile per hour winds. Reinforced laminated beams along the ceiling enhance
the home's structural integrity and increase the roof's anchoring capability.
And the homeowners exceeded minimum building codes when anchoring the house to
its slab-on-grade foundation. Windows were installed with manual wooden shutters,
and there is a safe room in the middle of the house, stocked with emergency essentials.
Mitigation Helps Mississippi Senior Center Survive Katrina
The Hancock County Senior Center was retrofitted with storm shutters in 1999
after an assessment determined that high winds could blow out its glass windows
and doors. Partially funded by FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the
center rode through the storm with minimal water damage, while nearby structures
were devastated by the storm surge. After Hurricane Katrina, the center eventually
housed more than 200 people and operated as a shelter for 88 days.
Mitigation Efforts Help Mississippi Emergency Operations Center “Shut Out” Katrina
More than 200 city, state, and county emergency officials, Mississippi National
Guardsmen, Navy Seabees and rescue workers took shelter and conducted 24-hour
operations in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Gulfport during Hurricane
Katrina. The EOC was retrofitted for metal storm shutters in 2003 using FEMA
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds, after an assessment revealed that high
winds could blow out the glass windows and doors of the facility. Originally
constructed as a civil defense facility, concrete was used for the building's
frame, roof and exterior walls, and it was built to withstand high wind events.
The facility's first floor sits at an elevation of just over 26 feet, which
prevented floodwater from entering the EOC.
Mississippi Waterfront High-Rise Apartment Stares Down Katrina, Won't Blink
The 14-story Legacy Towers apartment building, in Gulfport, was one of only a
few habitable buildings standing along the Mississippi Gulf Coast after the
storm struck. It's ability to endure the storm's wrath is attributed primarily
to the structure's break-away walls, windows, and doors designed to wash away
during high wind and water events. Legacy Towers' survival has played a key
role in the rebuilding process on the Gulf Coast. The Legacy was one of only
a few places able to offer housing to construction and emergency workers immediately
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident.
FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency
managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part
of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.