Recovery

HURRICANE RECOVERY EXPO: Better Preparation Means Less Recovery

As usual, immediately after Irma, generators were hard to come by as sales spiked, and the sound of the engines permeated neighborhoods that were suddenly off the grid.

by Harold Bubil, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla. / November 16, 2017

(TNS) - Those who live in hurricane-hardened houses that are not in mandatory evacuation zones can stay put.

Others might have to choose whether to evacuate. And most homeowners, if they don't have impact-resistant windows or built-in shutters, must decide whether to take the perhaps strenuous or inconvenient step of deploying shutters or other window coverings.

Then there is the stress and expense of repair or replacement, power generation and restoration, and debris clean-up.

These are among the topics that will be discussed at the Herald-Tribune's Hurricane Recovery Expo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Sarasota Main Plaza, on Main Street at Links Avenue, adjacent to the Hollywood 20 movie theater. Admission is free.

PGT Custom Windows & Doors is the presenting sponsor. Companies that will staff display booths include Rampart Homes, Tannenbaum Scro law firm, Dakkak Allstate Insurance, Smart Vent Products, Generac, Johnson House Movers, Kimal Lumber, SRQ Storm Protection, Storm Shield, Hurricane Safe Products, Olympus Insurance, My Gorilla Garage, Dream Closets, Pottery as Art and SNN.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is scheduled to have representatives at the event.

The expo will include panel discussions on meteorology, hurricane preparation, property-risk mitigation, taxpayer-funded emergency management, insurance, survival and recovery, and the effect hurricanes may have on the real estate market.

Realtor Michael Moulton of Michael Saunders & Co., said Hurricane Irma's "significant business disruptions, the need for re-inspections of homes under contract, and general angst not only caused sales to lag, but also new listings and pending contracts to be impacted."

"The short-term effects of Irma are behind us," said Moulton, who will participate in the real estate panel. "October activity in my business has been as strong as I can remember in recent years. A high level of activity from eager buyers and many new sellers give me confidence."

As usual, immediately after Irma, generators were hard to come by as sales spiked, and the sound of the engines permeated neighborhoods that were suddenly off the grid. Andy Kacyon of Generac will explain the nuances of generator use and safety and discuss when permanently installed generators might be the smart choice.

A flood of worry

Flood prevention, control and insurance also will be discussed. House mover Brett Johnson will talk about the dynamics of raising houses above the flood plain, an expensive proposition that can pay big benefits in special flood hazard areas. It even may be required in certain circumstances.

And Mike Graham of Smart Vent Products and Risk Reduction Plus Group will discuss ways homeowners can save on flood insurance premiums for smaller investments, including installing flood vents in stem walls to permit flood water to pass through foundations rather than push against them and cause costly damage.

Graham also says an inexpensive evaluation could save homeowners in flood zones thousands of dollars in future flood insurance premiums.

"If you have a non-compliant house without an elevation certificate," Graham said, "your premium is going to go up between 18 and 25 percent every year until you get to the actuarial rate, which might be $5,000 to $7,000 a year" for a typical house in a flood zone.

"But just having an elevation certificate (from an engineer or surveyor), and rating the home from that, will get you about a 6 percent increase a year."

Other panelists will include Ed McCrane, Sarasota County's emergency manager; Des Companion and Ben Quartermaine of Sarasota County's floodplain management office; county building official Marty Duran; SNN meteorologists Justin Mosely and Marco La Manno; remodeling contractors John King and Kia Ricchi; attorneys Alan Tannenbaum and Bailey Lowther; architect Jerry Sparkman; Dean Ruark of PGT Industries; Allstate insurance broker Mary Dakkak; property manager Thomas Fastiggi; Realtor Roger Pettingell; and private property appraiser Don Saba.

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