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CNN Today

Florida Pilot Program Focuses on Making Homes Hurricane-Proof

Aired July 11, 2000 - 2:24 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Making homes hurricane-proof is the focus of a pilot program now under way in Florida.

CNN's John Zarrella reports on the initiative and some simple steps you can take to safeguard your home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Hurricane Andrew turned tens of thousands of homes in South Florida into piles of rubble. But structural engineers and hurricane specialists say it didn't have to be that bad.

In St. Petersburg, Florida, homes fortified to withstand the forces of major hurricanes are under construction. The pilot program, sponsored by several organizations, including the nation's insurance industry, is aimed at proving that homes built correctly can stand up to a hurricane. All it takes, the experts say, is a few extras like impact-resistant windows or storm shutters, and the diligent adherence to building codes.

But what can you do to find out whether your existing home will still be standing when the hurricane passes?

DO KIM, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: One of the criteria is they can only have one layer of roofing.

ZARRELLA: Do Kim is a structural engineer who works on the fortified homes pilot program. While inspecting a couple of homes, Kim pointed out several things homeowners can look for.

KIM: You have these metal clips, what we call tie-downs or hurricane clips.

ZARRELLA: Another key to keeping the roof from blowing off: how well it's nailed to the trusses.

KIM: What I do see are a couple of shiners. They shouldn't be too much of a problem. I only see probably a couple, probably less than 5 percent are shiners.

ZARRELLA (on camera): What's a shiner?

KIM: A shiner is a nail that's missed a truss. ZARRELLA (voice-over): This home, build in the 1950s, actually outperformed the next home Kim looked at, which was built in the late 1980s. While the garage door was reinforced in this home, the roof tiles don't meet current code and would likely blow of in a major hurricane. Sections of the roof would follow. Using a stud finder...

KIM: There's one.

ZARRELLA: ... Kim found the roof nails were too far apart -- 12 inches.

KIM: When this house was built in 1989, it probably met code. But our criteria is six -- eight-penny nails six inches spaced apart. So this would not meet our criteria.

ZARRELLA: The key to survivability is keeping the wind out. Kim says to do that here and in most homes would only cost a few hundred dollars and give the homeowner peace of mind.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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