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Rebuild celebrates seven year milestone

10,000 homes in our area now have a better chance of surviving hurricane-force winds.
The Rebuild Northwest Florida program celebrated a seven-year milestone today.
The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency about the difference the program makes.
Laura Hussey "If you've lived through a hurricane in Northwest Florida, there's probably nothing more beautiful than shutters like these. And this (knocking), that's the sound of something standing between you and the storm"
Phillip and Tina Otwell know what it feels like to have your roof ripped from the walls.
 Phillip Otwell "We went through Ivan. So I knew that we had to do some upgrades"
A friend told them about Rebuild Northwest Florida, which uses FEMA grants to retrofit homes with more wind protection....paying seventy-five percent of the cost.
Theirs turned out to be the 10,000th home that Rebuild has fortified in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties over the last seven years.

Craig Fugate/FEMA "In this case, after the 04 and 05 storms, the decision was made to invest in wind and mitigate wind damage to homes"
Craig Fugate is the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He says programs like this could make the insurance market more competitive.   Important, because he says homeowners shouldn't depend on FEMA.

Craig Fugate "The federal assistance isn't going to make you whole. It's really to help start your recovery. So it's important to do the financial planning before a storm hits"
The Otwells' home is now has those steel-panel shutters, stronger roof-to-wall connections, and adhesive securing the roof deck.

Phillip "I'm a lot more confident. Sitting in the doorway during Ivan and you can see the candle flickering back and forth and you could hear the walls moving back and forth and the trees snapping.

We didn't know if the roof was going to come off or not, but now I'm pretty confident. It's going to be a lot safer"

Laura Hussey "Rebuild Northwest Florida has secured another 11 million dollars to keep making homes in our area stronger."