Are we Prepared?-
Imagine a nearby possible world.
In this world Hurricanes are not just a possibility but a foregone conclusion.
In this world we KNOW that at least one hurricane will make landfall in our region during every hurricane season. Historical data will tell us the level of damage and loss of life predicted from this Category of Hurricane.
Would the status quo of our current world be enough to ensure the safety of our nearby world residents? Would it be enough to prevent the hundreds of millions in damages.
The answer right now and in our current world is no in all fronts.
Our policies cater to aesthetics more than they do safety and loss prevention. They reward those who have means while making safety a hard requirement to meet for those who don’t.
Our systems of testing products are antiquated and don’t consider the wealth of knowledge we have gained since Hurricane Andrew decimated the SE coast of Florida.
The products industry wide are not enough to sustain larger storms especially when paired with homes that are not built to withstand larger storms. And what’s more, there is no consistency from product to product (e.g. The 55mm Rolldown from company A fails at a higher rate than the 55mm from company B.)
When we are in the hurricane industry and we only focus on the products alone (shutters, screens, windows) we miss the larger picture, the bottom line that we are not accurately prepared as a society.
So what can we do?
The building industry and the hurricane protection development and manufacturing industry need to collaborate to develop products and systems that work as a unit. No more will the rolldown shutters fail because the substrate they were bolted to was not made to hold the pressures and forces applied to the end retention.
States need to create systems that work for everyone by applying tax benefits to all forms of hurricane protection and not only the more expensive ones.
Municipalities need to create programs that mirror snow removal programs and deploy teams to help install panels, lower shutters, and help with preparations in the days preceding a storm.
We should have a department like the NTSB that investigates failure points after a storm and proposes changes in policies and products that will aid in loss prevention.
There should be programs that focus on educating new residents on the policies, products, and systems that will help to keep them safe during hurricane season.
We need to do better as a society to prevent loss of life and property because this Alternate possible world is not too far removed from our current world. Taking the steps NOW benefits all.