IBTS and FEMA: Hurricane Season Recovery

The Galveston County, TX, community begins to recover following Hurricane Harvey.

August and September of 2017 proved to be a record-breaking hurricane season for the southern United States, causing widespread destruction in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Hundreds of thousands of homes sustained significant damage due to the storm surges, high winds, and flooding that the hurricanes left in their paths. In response to these disasters, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) team has been hard at work to help the residents who were displaced from their homes as a result of the storms.

Much of this work is being done through IBTS’s long-standing working relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). IBTS was selected to conduct factory inspections of the entire production cycle of FEMA’s Manufactured Housing Units (MHU). This program supports disaster victims by placing them in survivor housing until they are able to transition back to a long-term or permanent housing solution.

Disaster Recovery from the 2017 Hurricane Season

An IBTS inspector evaluates a manufactured home in Baton Rouge, LA.

Currently, IBTS is conducting operations related to FEMA’s hurricane recovery work in Baton Rouge, LA; Houston, TX; and the west coast of Florida as well as the Florida Keys. In Florida, IBTS and its subcontractor, National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association (NRVIA), are currently supporting survivors of Hurricane Irma by delivering inspection and training services for the travel trailers that FEMA is providing as an option to hurricane survivors. Once the travel trailer is installed, IBTS conducts a thorough inspection of the home to ensure proper operation of equipment, that there is no damage or missing parts, and that there are no life-safety concerns. The primary life-safety hazards that IBTS inspects for are propane leaks and electrical malfunctions.

Once the survivors are able to move into the travel trailers, IBTS conducts training on how to use the different equipment in the unit, any possible safety issues, and easy repairs that can be made if anything is not working properly.

IBTS’s Impact

IBTS is committed to providing the personnel and resources required to support the requirements of FEMA, as well as the needs of the hurricane victims. As a sign of our commitment, the team works daily to exceed the requirements set by FEMA to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected by disasters. In addition, the IBTS team is in constant communication with the FEMA Joint Field Office to report our activities and provide detailed information on the work performed.