Testimony from agencies who oversee the federal response to natural catastrophes at a Senate Committee hearing today continued to support efforts towards stronger building codes, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies noted.
At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Army Corps of Engineers spoke on the value of mitigation prior to natural catastrophes, and the importance of incorporating smart mitigation measures early into the rebuilding process in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“Once again in a post-disaster Congressional hearing, the recurring theme was learning lessons to reduce exposure to future natural disasters,” said Jimi Grande, Senior Vice President of Federal and Political Affairs for NAMIC. “NAMIC continues to urge Congress to support incentives for stronger building codes which will help communities withstand major natural disasters while saving lives and taxpayer money at the same time. The evidence supporting mitigation benefits proves incentives for statewide building codes to be a fiscally responsible method of assisting in natural disaster recovery while working to prevent future damage.”
NAMIC was particularly heartened as FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate stressed the need for more resilient communities built to higher standards than those used before Sandy. Fugate illustrated the benefits of mitigation realized by Louisiana residents during Hurricane Isaac in 2012, where storm surge levels exceeded those of Katrina in some areas but resulted in far less damage. HUD Secretary Sean Donovan went on to describe mitigation as sensible and cost effective, providing for at least $4 less in damage for every $1 spent.
Joining NAMIC in commending Committee Chairman Thomas Carper, D-Del., and ranking member Tom Coburn, R-Okla., for holding the hearing is the BuildStrong Coalition, a group of national business and consumer organizations, companies, and emergency management officials dedicated to promoting stronger building codes to help communities withstand major natural disasters.
“While mitigation will not prevent natural catastrophes, stronger homes and businesses will save private property, federal funds, environmental damage and insurance claims paid,” said Grande. “Further, building codes contribute to the resiliency of a community and the ability of a community to bounce-back from a disaster. As a community begins the recovery process, the quicker businesses can return to full operation and citizens can return to their daily lives, the greater ability the local economy has to recover and lessen the burden on assistance providers. Most importantly, stronger homes and businesses save lives.”
Contact: Matt Brady
Director - Federal Public Affairs
Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 6:04:46 PM. Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 6:23:59 PM.
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