Commissioner McCarty Helps Dedicate The Newest “Hurricane House” In Broward County
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty took part yesterday in ceremonies to dedicate the newest hurricane house in Ft. Lauderdale. The 3,000 square-foot house – officially known as the Broward County Windstorm Damage Mitigation Training and Demonstration Center – demonstrates how existing homes can be made more hurricane resistant.
The house is located at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center and is built to withstand winds of more than 140 mph. Yesterday's dedication took place just days before the start of the 2006 hurricane season. The hurricane house in Fort Lauderdale is one of four demonstration facilities located at UF Extension Service offices around the state. Other hurricane houses are in Fort Pierce, Pensacola and St. Augustine (see below).
"We cannot do anything to stop hurricanes from hitting our state," said McCarty, "but we can harden our structures so they can survive storms. These houses prove we can build homes that will withstand a category 4 or 5 hurricane with little or no damage."
The Florida Department of Financial Services provided $2.3 million for the four houses. Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department, said, "When the eye of Hurricane Frances passed through St. Lucie County in 2004 the hurricane house in Ft. Pierce withstood the storm with little or no damage. This is the kind of protection I would like to see every Florida family have."
Gallagher's office is presently developing a program that will provide free inspections and $5,000 matching grants for Floridians to strengthen their homes against hurricanes. Lawmakers have earmarked $250 million for the program which is expected to be under way by mid-August.
The hurricane houses use materials, products and construction methods, which meet or exceed new state building codes, and can be used in new homes or to retrofit existing structures. Homeowners and builders can visit the homes to be educated on building materials including three types of window shutters, impact resistant doors and garage doors and insulated concrete forms with reinforcement bars. The houses are also used to teach the latest windstorm mitigation construction techniques.
In Broward County, the hurricane house is located at 3205 College Avenue in Davie. Telephone: (954) 577-6300.
In St. Lucie County, the hurricane house is located at 8400 Picos Road in Fort Pierce. Telephone: (772) 462-1660.
In St. Johns County, the hurricane house is located at 3125 Agriculture Center Drive in St. Augustine. Telephone: (904) 209-0432.
In Escambia County, the hurricane house is located at 3740 Stefani Road in Cantonment near Pensacola. Telephone: (850) 475-5230.
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