Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Safe Room? a New Home Entertainment System? Choose the First

16.07.2010
For 18 horrific hours on April 3, 1974, the largest and most cataclysmic tornado on record for a single 24-hour period took North America by storm. Actually, it was 148 tornadoes, which spun through and sacked 13 states and one Canadian province, ravaging some 900 square miles and killing 148 people.

An iconic photo snapped in the tragedy's aftermath speaks the proverbial thousand words: amid a landscape devastated, and houses crushed like eggshells, one thing remained intact, standing erect and defying nature's wrath: an interior bathroom of a single house, whose walls had not been connected to the rest of the house. The photo demonstrated how a single room can withstand the wrath of a tornado and serve as a safe haven.

Today, a consortium of government officials and academics works to raise awareness about the life-saving capabilities of storm shelters.

The team is a who's who of researchers and atmospheric scientists and includes the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T); the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the Southeast Region Research Initiative (SERRI); the Walt Disney World Resort; the International Code Council (ICC); the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes; and the Oak Ridge National Lab.

Their focus is a pilot project called the Resilient Home Program, which is funded in part by S&T's Infrastructure and Geophysical Division. The program incorporates newly revised guidance from FEMA on designs for basement, in-ground, and above-ground safe rooms; and an ICC standard, which specifies requirements for the design and construction of such sanctuaries.

The program takes place in the American Southeast, a region that draws tornadoes with a frequency and fury that rival the famous "tornado alley" of the Midwest. Making matters worse, the Southeast is a magnet for nocturnal storms, which strike between sunset and sunrise and often double the fatalities of their daytime counterparts. Furthermore, the Southeast's population is particularly vulnerable to disasters, with large numbers of seniors and mobile homes.

Last year, tornadoes pummeled homes and farms in 18 FEMA-declared disasters, stretching from Florida, through the South, and up into Illinois. So far this year, tornadoes have been a part of six more disasters, most recently in Oklahoma and Mississippi. On May 10, 2010, at least 22 tornadoes tore through the Sooner State on a single day, ripping off metal roofs and killing several. In the Magnolia State, an unusually high number of homes in the storm's path—more than half—were destroyed on April 24. Each flattened wooden frame left behind a reminder about the need for a pocket of space that can turn back a howling twister.

And the tornado season is far from over.

"The Resilient Home Program isn't a 30-page report that winds up in a binder on a bookshelf," says S&T program manager Mike Matthews. "It's a roll-up-your-sleeves collaboration among many different entities — homeowners, builders, and insurers — that will help to fortify people's homes, lives and communities."

As Matthews sees it, the sooner families can return to their homes, the faster a community can recapture its vitality.

The team is undertaking a two-part process. First, the research: Why do some homeowners opt for safe rooms while others go without? Then the outreach: Use these findings to communicate with the public and the construction and insurance industries.

The team surveyed 822 homeowners in seven states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Participants were asked a battery of questions about their knowledge of and interest in safe rooms.

"The more we understand about how people perceive safe rooms, the more success we'll have in increasing their number," says Matthews.

From their answers, certain patterns emerged. For instance, homeowners are well-aware that safe rooms can save their lives. Yet they see little value in investing in something that would be used so little or perhaps not at all. For that kind of cash (about $10,000), they'd rather buy a home theater or remodel their kitchen. So the team decided to brand safe rooms as a home-furnishing project—something fun rather than a necessary evil. After all, from bathrooms to bedrooms to boardrooms, there's a reality show on remodeling it.

The messaging was refined in March in focus groups with remodelers and builders. Further creative honing has continued in recent months via interviews with consumers and meetings with insurers to identify incentives that will defray construction costs.

In the meantime, the team is engaged in good old public relations, promoting Resilient Homes via TV segments, partnerships, speeches, workshops, demos—and outreach articles like this one.

John Verrico | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.dhs.gov

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Construction Impact Guide
18.05.2018 | Hochschule RheinMain

nachricht New, forward-looking report outlines research path to sustainable cities
24.01.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Air pollution leads to cardiovascular diseases

21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Researchers target protein that protects bacteria's DNA 'recipes'

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>