September 8th, 2017
Learning from Disasters
Hurricane Harvey struck on August 25, damaging some 200,000 homes in its path, primarily in Houston. Right now, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida. As familiar as images of hurricane rescues have become, each such disaster brings with it an unforgettable image that becomes symbolic of both the disaster and the recovery.
With Hurricane Harvey, that image is most likely the photo of a mother carrying a sleeping baby, both of whom were being carried by a member of the Houston SWAT team. Neighbors, first responders, the entire 12,000-member National Guard of Texas and National Guard troops from other states are still working tirelessly alongside the Red Cross and many other charities to rescue and rebuild.
What will be the iconic image from Hurricane Irma? We’ll probably see one soon enough.
As providers of the products that are used to seal homes and businesses against the elements, door and window manufacturers serve as the last vital step in the rebuilding process. By ensuring that a structure is weather-tight, whether it has been restored or completely rebuilt, fenestration products allow occupants of homes and buildings to finally and truly move on from disaster.
I’m always proud to hear stories about companies in our industry donating products after a disaster. Companies like Andersen, Harvey Building Products and Wakefield Equipment have already stepped up and donated to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.
Another thing about our industry that is rightfully a source of pride for all of us is the way that the best minds at door and window manufacturers collaborate with consultants, insurance companies, building commissions, builders and other stakeholders to study the impact of disasters on the building products that make up our homes and businesses. The entire impact door and window industry was the legacy of learning that took place after Hurricane Andrew. Our industry is known for designing and manufacturing products to give a structure that slight extra edge that it needs to avoid a breach by wind-blown debris or water. By helping a structure survive the storm, homes and businesses can be returned to useful function sooner and billions in property damage and possibly lost lives can be avoided.
The fenestration industry doesn’t stop at hurricanes, taking on even more devastating forces, such as tornadoes and man-made disasters such as terrorist attacks. By collaborating and coordinating with other segments of the building products industry, fenestration manufacturers are in the unique position of being able to run profitable, successful businesses that also do an immense amount of good for the members of communities everywhere.