FEMA donates construction model to university to aid communities prone to natural disasters
TUSKEGEE, Ala. (October 7, 2011) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday donated to Tuskegee University a construction model that displays a technique that can potentially decrease major damage to homes during natural disasters. According to FEMA officials, the structure is especially beneficial to Alabama residents, who are frequently victims of tornadoes and other storms.
“We’re really interested in breaking the cycle,” said Luletha Cheatham, branch director of hazard mitigation at FEMA. “It’s about continuous education.”
The structure is named the DAWG HAUS. This stands for: Disaster Avoidance With Good Home Attenuating-Unionization System. The construction technique involves reinforcements using safer construction methods, such as the walls, ceiling and rafters all being connected with metal strips. This decreases not only the damage to one home, but also the potential for airborne debris, which can damage neighboring buildings and people.
“This is extra support from the top to the bottom of a building,” said James Crawford, team leader for hazards, performance and analysis at FEMA.
Crawford stressed that the building technique is not meant for life safety, but is strictly a mitigation effort. People should still take precautions suggested by the National Weather Service and other entities in the event of a storm.
The DAWG HAUS is available to Tuskegee University students to study better ways to design and build durable buildings. Students and faculty can also transport the structure to communities and schools to teach what they’ve learned about the technique displayed.
“For the students to see this first-hand is a big advantage,” said Richard Dozier, dean of the School of Architecture and Construction Science. “These days, disaster planning and design are almost requirements.”
Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon, left, is shown the DAWG HAUS by James Crawford, team leader for hazards, performance and analysis at FEMA.