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Wind Zone 4 Decision By Florida Building Commission 2-05-13

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Wind Zone 4 Decision By Florida Building Commission 2-05-13

The IHPA and concerned member companies were successful in getting the Florida Building Commission to approve the IHPA sponsored change to the ASTM definition of Wind Zone 4. The Commission by a unanimous vote (18-0), supported the change overturning the Structural TAC recommendation. The Commission approval of the IHPA sponsored change means that 2013 Florida Building Code will keep Wind Zone 4 as the same area as it is now, which is an area that is comprised of Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Monroe County.

The definition of Wind Zone 4 will remain unchanged from that contained in the 2010 Florida Building Code with 2012 Supplement. Wind Zone 4 consists of areas with a wind speed of greater than 170 mph and Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. The main difference between Wind Zones 1-3 and Wind Zone 4 are the number of impacts required and the deflection limits. The code unmodified would have expanded Wind Zone 4 to include portions of St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Martin, Collier, Lee, and Sarasota Counties. This was a hot topic when the 2010 Florida Building Code was implemented in March of 2012 and the IHPA was successful in getting a “Glitch Change” approved by the Commission to rectify the situation in the 2010 code. The expansion of Wind Zone 4 was an unintended consequence of modifications intended to correlate the wind speeds of the code with the latest version of ASCE 7, ASCE 7-10.

Unmodified, the provision had the potential to considerably increase the costs of hurricane protection. The more technologically advanced products could have been precluded from the market place. The International Hurricane Protection Association, concerned individuals, affected member companies, and other industry advocates stood up to the challenge and came away victorious benefitting both the industry and the public.

Garage Door Protection

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Garage Door Protection

Many individuals are unaware that protecting their garage doors is just as important as the window and entry doors of a specific home.

Catastrophic loss of pressure especially associated with severe Cat 4 and Cat 5 hurricanes, gains its way into your residence via the garage door opening. This loss of pressure is much more severe than losing a window or door as the opening is larger increasing the risk of roof—then whole home failure.

The larger the opening, the more vulnerable it usually is. When a Category 4 or Category 5 storm hits your neighborhood—the extremely low-pressure associate with the storms actually can do more damage than the wind.
Here’s how it works. When a Cat 5 storm hits, the high pressure in your home is trying to escape—so there is actually as much negative pressure (the sucking action against widows and entry doors) as there is positive pressure (the wind load or wind against your home—the blowing action). Once an opening of your home is compromised then the entire home is compromised and the garage door should be viewed as a large entry door and not just the garage.

Many individuals actually keep their garage doors rolled up and just deploy their hurricane fabric so they have another vantage point to see the storm.

Choose Hurricane Fabric and be safer during a storm!!

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

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Hurricane Preparedness Tips

This fact sheet contains health and safety tips for families preparing for a hurricane from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration.

Hurricanes and Your Health and Safety

The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts caused by flying glass or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails, metal, or glass, and bone fractures.

State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.

Make sure to include all essential medications — both prescription and over the counter — in your family””s emergency disaster kit.

Water Quality

Hurricanes, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding, can contaminate the public water supply. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. You cannot assume that the water in the hurricane-affected area is safe to drink.

In the area hit by a hurricane, water treatment plants may not be operating; even if they are, storm damage and flooding can contaminate water lines. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the municipal water supply.

If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after the storm passes and the floodwaters recede. Questions about testing should be directed to your local or state health department.

Water Safety

Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.

If you don’t have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.

If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.

If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Food Safety

Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.

Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.

Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling; leakage; punctures; holes; fractures; extensive deep rusting; or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.

Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:

Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.

Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:

  • place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
  • place in a freshly-made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.

Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.

Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).

Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods

If you will be without power for a long period:
ask friends to store your frozen foods in their freezers if they have electricity;
see if freezer space is available in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service; or
use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about four hours without power if it is unopened. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than four hours.
Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold,” or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.
To be safe, remember, “When in doubt, throw it out.” Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:
before preparing or eating
after toilet use
after participating in cleanup activities; and
after handling articles contaminated with floodwater or sewage.

If there is flooding along with a hurricane, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater. If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas. Wash children’s hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.

Outbreaks of communicable diseases after hurricanes are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a hurricane may increase because of a lack of sanitation or overcrowding in shelters. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present before the hurricane are not a problem, so mass vaccination programs are unnecessary.

If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.

Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.

Rain and flooding in a hurricane area may lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry communicable diseases. It is unlikely that diseases which were not present in the area prior to the hurricane would be of concern. Local, state, and federal public health authorities will be actively working to control the spread of any mosquito-borne diseases.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective. Be sure to read all instructions before using DEET. Care must be taken when using DEET on small children. Products containing DEET are available from stores and through local and state health departments.

To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers outside your home.

Mental Health
The days and weeks after a hurricane are going to be rough. In addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Remember that some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may go away with time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Remember that children need extra care and attention before, during, and after the storm. Be sure to locate a favorite toy or game for your child before the storm arrives to help maintain his/her sense of security. Your state and local health departments will help you find the local resources, including hospitals or health care providers, that you may need.

Quoted from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Small Missile Fabric vs. Large Missile Impact Screens

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Small Missile Fabric vs. Large Missile Impact Screens

Hurricane protection screens developed by are the 1st hurricane screens to meet and recognize the differences between hurricane screens that are designed for large openings and screens that better protect smaller openings.

The Japanese fishermen who would place woven fishing nets along buildings to protect from typhoons started the hurricane fabric industry. Sometimes the men would double and triple up these nets, depending on the strength of the impending storm.

From these men, we learned that screens have an ability to decelerate objects and wind, prior to taking the brunt force of the impact.

Think about it like this:

If you throw a baseball at a sailboat sail, and it””s a small sail you are aiming at, you may be able to get the baseball to go through if the baseball is thrown hard enough at the corner of the sail, (Especially true if the anchor point is a static gromment – similar to all of our competitors.).

Now think about Hurricane Fabric””s flex clip around that same small sailboat sail. (our clip would have given the sail a fighting chance). Conversely, think about throwing that same baseball at a sailboat sail that is 100 feet tall, the natural luft in the material will decelerate the ball before it has a chance to penetrate (no matter how close you are to that sailboat sail).

Similar to the use of large missile hurricane impact glass and small missile impact glass: we are the first hurricane screen manufacturer to recognize the difference between a large and a small hurricane protection screens. Smaller screens have less surface area to react to an impact – so we have developed a more flexible version of our High Modulus Clip to better handle large missile impacts on smaller openings. Our flex clip aids in the screens ability to decelerate an object. Static anchor points such as gromments used by our competition, do not have this ability.

Many building departments such as Miami/Dade Approval process and Florida Building Code FBC require that screen companies test a large screen. This allowance for one screen size tested, however, was based upon the metal products that had been tested for years where the “larger the accordion shutter”, the weaker it is. Metal panels, accordion shutters, impact glass both small missile and large missile hurricane glass get weaker as they get larger.

Not completely true when it comes to hurricane protection screens. Hurricane’s system is the only system that tests both large and small screens, and the only hurricane screen manufacturer that independently tests (already approved) hurricane hardware.

Load Disbutsement Hurricane Protection Fabric System

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Load Disbutsement Hurricane Protection Fabric System

Hurricane Fabric”s load disbursement system is the only hurricane screen system that addresses some basic engineering problems with many hurricane screens systems today -while solving the problem.

When fabric was 1st used in the United States, the testing labs geared all their tests towards metal products. Many of the tests became more stringent after Hurricane Andrew. The problem with using these same tests for fabric products centers around the separation of the wind and impact tests – such as the Miami/Dade PA 201.

Fabric is different than metal and is visibly stretched back during a storm. The problem with using tests geared towards metal products is that when the fabric is in this stretched position – it is significantly more vulnerable to not stop an impact.

Hurricane Fabric”s system corrects this defect using a flexible clip that allows for a screen to receive and impact even if there is a wind load on it.

How could the testing labs miss this?

Simple, they relied on the manufacturers to test in good faith and fabric was not widely used. No one said anything, until now.

..Tests for fabric products centers around the separation of the wind and impact tests – such as the Miami/Dade PA 201..

Our system is different – as the wind gets stronger, the flexes and reduces and disburses the wind load. It”s such a great idea – its patent pending. Choose Hurricane Fabric and be safer during a Hurricane.

A Product Born Out of Necessity

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A Product Born Out of Necessity

Astroflex by Hurricane Fabric is the first generation series of fabric protection. This is made of a slightly heavier version of polypropylene trampoline fabric. Astroflex is woven so that the fibers are slightly open so as to allow visibility through the fabric. While the impact resistance meets the standards for Florida Building Code, the Astroguard fabric has a much higher resistance to impact and is completely non-porous.

This was our first system which was a product born out of necessity. A founder of this company was a pioneering member in the field of fabric hurricane protection whose background is in the sail making industry. Much of how this product works has come from this field where there is decades of innovation in fabric and attachment advances. From the history of sails, we can gain much insight into how fabric performs under heavy loads and what type of attachments are the most secure.

Fabric hurricane protection started with one attachment style. This was the Strap & Buckle system. As the years progressed from the late 1990’s into the early 2000’s, a more affordable version was sought which brought about the grommet style of attachment. However, there are serious, if not fatal flaws with both of these systems.

After the storms of 2004 and 2006 in Florida, much was learned about the deficiencies and ultimate failures of these two styles of attachment. The strap and buckle method has two serious issues. The first issue is retaining tension of the straps in the buckle. The second is integrity of the thread used to attach the straps is diminished over time by UV exposure. There were many reports of straps coming loose during the storms. This prompted home owners to expose themselves to danger in order to re-tension straps in an effort to keep the system from ultimate failure. In fact, there are many instances that can be pointed to where the system failed as a result of the straps coming loose. We have seen fabric panels come back after the storm with straps that have literally shred to pieces.

The grommet attachment system, likewise, is prone to fail. There are two major problems that can and do cause the ultimate failure of the grommet system. The first major concern is the fact that a hole must be cut into the fabric in order to install the grommet. This hole severs fibers which significantly decreased the strength of the fabric. The other issue is that, with a grommet, the metal is only capturing a very small amount of fabric around the cut hole. Fabric tends to stretch differently than metal. As this stretching occurs, the hole in the fabric grows disproportionately to the metal grommet causing the fabric to separate from the grommet. As with the strap & buckle system failure, there are many instances where the fabric came free of the attachment leaving a hole in the fabric edge with the grommet still attached to the fastener in the home.

From these failures and inefficiencies of the two popular styles of attachment, the need to invent a secure connection was clear. Once again we turned to the history of sail making to look for a secure method of attachment. We looked at how mainsails on very large boats are connected to the mast. This is in the form of batten end caps. These caps are made up of two separate pieces that connect by bolting together and sandwiching the fabric between the two halves. This method makes the attachment a part of the fabric. However, in order for this idea to work as a means of hurricane protection, it had to have flexibility and the option to connect to parallel and perpendicular structure eliminating the need for metal tracks. This is why we use advanced, reinforced Nylon and have two connection options on our clips. The reinforced Nylon provides both strength and flexibility and the two mounting options eliminate the need for metal tracks.

The major factor in effective fabric protection is the need to decelerate flying objects. This flexibility is not provided by the strap & buckle or grommet arrangements. Just like a trampoline, this system, along with the flexibility of our clip, actually decreases the speed of windborne debris and uses this energy to return the object in the opposite direction, away from the house. This is just like a person jumping on a trampoline.

The Hurricane Fabric, LLC clip solves the need for a secure connection and decelerates flying debris while absorbing the pressures of wind. It was the failure of the competing systems that brought about the invention of our clip. Our motto is one of “Constant Innovation”. Instead of choosing outdated failure-prone products, make the smart, educated choice of Astroflex by Hurricane Fabric, LLC.

Bob Vila – Fabric Storm Shutters

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Bob Vila – Fabric Storm Shutters

A New Generation of Fabric Storm Shutters

Lightweight, strong, and easy-to-install, today’s fabric storm “shutters” are manufactured to withstand the force of a Category 5 hurricane.

A few weeks back, during a trip to New Orleans, I had the opportunity to tour Brad Pitt’s Make It Right building project in the Lower Ninth Ward. Cesar Rodriguez, the nonprofit’s Construction Service Manager, served as my very informative guide. It was exciting to finally get a firsthand look at the 75 colorful LEED-certified dwellings that make up the first phase of the rebuilding initiative. Of the houses’ many forward-thinking features, I was especially curious to learn more about the new generation of fabric hurricane “shutters” that come standard in all of the Foundation’s “green” homes.

Made of a super-strong ballistic nylon—similar to what automakers use to fashion airbags—the fabric panels are a far cry from the cumbersome metal shutters I grew up helping to install whenever bad weather threatened my South Florida home. Besides being easier to set up, the fabric guards get high marks for sustainability, especially when compared to the plywood many homeowners use to board up their windows, then send straight to the landfill once the storm clears.

“Given what happened to the Lower Ninth Ward in the wake of Katrina, it was really important to Make It Right to offer homeowners a safe approach to preventing future hurricane damage,” says Cesar Rodriguez. “All of our houses are elevated five to eight feet from the ground, and many of the residents are elderly,” notes Rodriquez, a combination that makes installing heavy metal shutters or nailing plywood planks to doors and windows a laborious, costly, and potentially dangerous endeavor.

AstroGuard, the company that manufactured the lightweight hurricane panels for Make It Right’s first 75 homes, numbers among a growing number of firms now offering this simple-to-install alternative to traditional storm shutters. Based in Florida, home to the country’s most stringent hurricane building codes, AstroGuard guarantees that their super-strong panels will protect against wind, water, and flying debris generated by a Category 5 hurricane (Katrina was a Category 3).

Although price estimates depend on the square footage of a home as well as who installs the panels—DIYers can now buy the hurricane fabric and anchoring system at Home Depot—Make It Right spent roughly $1,000 to $1,200 per house to have 15 to 16 door and window panels custom-made and installed, notes Rodriguez. Made to withstand decades of wear and tear, the fabric panels feature a convenient label where homeowners can indicate the dimensions and location of the unit’s corresponding window or door, a helpful tool when a storm’s coming and timeliness counts. And best of all, once the bad weather passes, you simply fold the panels, put them in a storage bag, and store in a closest—where they’ll be waiting, good as new, the next time Mother Nature comes calling.

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