Being in the Dog House Isn't Always A Bad Thing
As Bay State residents rebuild their homes, schools and businesses after recent floods, disaster recovery officials want their efforts to include preparing for the possibility of future storms.
Over the next few weeks, several Massachusetts home building stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's will cooperate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Group to focus attention on smart building techniques. FEMA personnel will assist staff at the stores in the construction of a number of "dawg haus" models. The concept is the brainchild of FEMA engineers who wanted to provide a user-friendly, and quite visual, example of everyday mitigation construction techniques and materials.
The models are constructed with materials donated by the participating stores, and demonstrate strong and safe building practices. Key to the design is the incorporation of a strap-and-connector system that ensures proper load path construction in a structure. While the construction resembles a traditional dog house, the unusual spelling is actually an acronym for Disaster Avoidance With Good Home Attenuating Unionization System.
"Think of a house like a box," said Cris Nery, a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Engineer. "When you push on one side of a box, all the pressure is transferred to the other side. If any part of the box fails, the whole thing collapses. But if the box is properly secured on all sides, then pressure from one side will not allow the box to move. It's really pretty simple, but it can make all the difference in the world."
See one in Quincy
Construction on the first "dawg haus" began on Saturday, May 8, 2010, and should be completed in less than a week. The model will be on display at the Home Depot store at 177 Willard St. in Quincy, MA during normal business hours. Over time, other participating stores will design and construct their own models for display in their communities.
Community education and outreach is just one example of the many ways FEMA continues to work closely with local and state organizations, as well as voluntary entities, to aid Commonwealth residents in the recovery process.
Record amounts of funds are being approved and disbursed by the agency; millions of dollars in disaster assistance are going to businesses, individuals and communities throughout the devastated areas.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties may apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for people with speech or hearing disabilities. The toll-free telephone numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Multilingual assistance is available.