February 26th, 2007 05:46 EST
FEMA, Rebuild Storm-Damaged Structures Smarter and Safer
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The task of rebuilding or repairing your disaster damaged home can be a daunting one, but it also presents an opportunity to reconstruct in a much safer, stronger and smarter way.
Measures taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards can range from constructing “safe rooms” to simpler steps such as elevating electrical panels. Always contact a local building official before undertaking such measures. Local officials know the rebuilding methods that meet local and state government requirements. There can be strict local requirements on how and where structures may be renovated.
Homeowners, landlords and business owners are urged to check with local and county governments regarding permits before repairing or rebuilding a structure damaged by winds or flooding. Combining risk reduction measures such as strengthened glass windows with energy-saving improvements may result in long-term tax and utility savings. Take time now to review the IRS Energy Credit at www.IRS.gov .
Finding a Contractor:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the State of Florida and Florida State University , has created a tool to make construction options more accessible. Consumers can find a list of state-licensed contractors plus a variety of relevant articles and resources by logging on to the Disaster Contractor Network www.DCNonline.org
State licensure also may be verified through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation by calling (850) 487-1395 or visiting www.MyFloridaLicense.com . More tips regarding hiring a contractor can be obtained by visiting www.MyFlorida.com/dbpr .
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.