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How to Protect Against Hurricanes and Tornadoes

To prepare for devastating hurricanes and tornadoes, residents of storm prone areas want to know how to protect their families and reduce the tragic losses incurred when a major storm hits. Homes built with Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) walls can withstand flying debris from tornadoes and hurricanes and are more wind-resistant than traditional wood or steel walls.

On the Eastern seaboard and southeastern coastal areas, for example, people are building with Arxx Building Products for protection against the constant threat of storms and flooding. In Greenwood, South Carolina, Cindy Ray is building The Learning Vine daycare center with Arxx Building Products walls or the children’s safety. Bookings are pouring in for the daycare center which will open in August. Cindy attributes much of the interest to the fact that the children will be protected from high winds and On Long Beach Island in New Jersey, homeowner Stuart Stainecker explains, “The most prominent reason I chose to build my Barnegat Light home with the Arxx Building Products insulated concrete wall system is because of the products resistance against tropical storms, hurricanes and flooding.”

The 14,000 square foot Palm Plaza shopping center on the island of St. John in the Virgin Islands survived almost unscathed through Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, Hurricane Bertha in 1996 and numerous tropical storms. In Mary Ester, Florida, the Clark family enjoys their new home that was hit by two tropical storms and last year’s Hurricane Georges while under construction. Five other houses on the same block are still uncompleted due to extensive storm damage.

So confident is the State of Florida Department of Insurance in the ability of Arxx Building Products walls to stand up to hurricane force winds that five “hurricane houses”; (teaching centers), are being built with Arxx building Products walls. These Regional windstorm Damage Mitigation Training and Demonstration Centers were initiated by the Florida Department of Insurance to help state and local governments teach hurricane-resistant methods of construction. Dr. Robert Stroh, director of the Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing at the University of Florida directed the design of the centers and is coordinating construction. AAB Building System inc. donated Arxx Building Products material, freight and on-site technical supervision to demonstrate the insulated, reinforced concrete wall system that meets wind load and impact resistance requirements of the South Florida Building Code. Models, cutaway sections of the wall and ceiling, impact resistant shutters, laminated glass, garage doors and roofing materials will form part of the training display.

Tests at Texas Tech University show that concrete walls can withstand the impact of debris hurled at an intense velocity by tornado-force winds. To duplicate tornado-like conditions in the laboratory, researchers shot wall sections with 15 pound 2 X 4 lumber missiles at up to 100-mph, simulating debris carried in a 250-mph wind. Arxx Building Products walls, like all other concrete wall systems, survived the tests with no structural damage.
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