Deputy Secretary of Energy T.J. Glauthier joined Federal Emergency Mangement Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt in signing a new initiative that helps homeowners protect and better prepare themselves from the threat of natural disaster, before it strikes.
"We want to help disaster-prone communities become not only safer, but also stronger, healthier and more energy efficient at the same time," said Glauthier. "Through our disaster prevention and energy saving efforts, building, power and water systems will become more resistant to the damaging effects of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, ice storms and other natural hazards."
Initially, the project will focus on two communities hard-hit by natural disasters. These cities are Wilimington, N.C., a city recovering from devastating floods, and Oakland, Calif., where strong earthquakes have occurred throughout this century.
Under this agreement with FEMA's Project Impact Initiative, both agencies will pool their resources and work to help make homes more resistant to natural disasters.
For example, during home inspections, trained personnel will help identify potential problems such as structural flaws in buildings in earthquake-prone areas, inadequate weather stripping in homes that lie in flood-prone areas or insufficient insulation in areas prone to winter storms.
The DOE said this partnership "will also demonstrate that energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can help save money and energy, while providing additional protection against natural disasters."