By Julie Rochman
and better building
codes can help
for extreme events.
E very single year, Mother Nature unleashes natu- ral forces that cause death and destruction. Inland and coastal windstorms, wildfires, floods, winter
weather, earthquakes, and hailstorms rip at the social and
economic fabrics of communities across our nation by
inflicting billions of dollars in property damage. Yet even
though a constant stream of haunting post-catastrophe
images and raw stories from disaster victims rolls across
the media landscape for all to experience and share, the
terrible lessons to be learned from natural disasters are
too often ignored and too quickly forgotten.
It is time to say, “Enough!” and help communities stand up to
Mother Nature. To be fair, it’s actually long past time. For far too long
in this country we have built in the same ways, in the same places,
over and over and over again after disaster strikes. We must—and we
can—break this awful cycle that essentially leaves us at nature’s mercy.
While we can’t prevent Mother Nature from doing her worst, we
can “build forward” to create stronger, safer, more resilient communities that will better withstand tomorrow’s disasters. Homes,
businesses, and other structures that make up communities can be
designed, built, maintained, and retrofitted in ways that will enable
them to better withstand wind, water, fire, hail, ice and snow, etc. This
is the key to becoming truly resilient.
Of course, it is true that at some point, nature will overwhelm even
exceptional engineering. But that doesn’t mean we should just throw
up our hands and refrain from making the structures in which we live
and work stronger, safer, and more resilient.
As a nation, we have decided that energy efficiency is a personal financial good, a societal good, and an environmental good. That
consensus has led to the creation of public policies that promote and
incentivize energy efficiency among individuals and businesses, as
well as to increased market demand and a resulting supply of myriad
products and services to help increase energy efficiency.
At the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), we
understand that—with or without a changing climate—resilience to
natural hazards has the potential to be every bit as much a personal
financial good, societal good, and environmental good. This will take
some work, which is precisely why IBHS does what we do: conduct
objective, scientific research to find and promote the most effective
ways to strengthen homes, businesses, and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss.
Standing Up to