An innovative U.S. Army program is helping residents to recover from Hurricane Ida.
The pilot program ‘shrink-wraps’ the roofs of homes, which are not eligible for the Blue Roof Program.
Under the current program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) can’t nail the temporary roofing onto many surfaces because it might damage them. The tarps simply don’t work on tiled, slate or metal roofs.
Three companies were approached for a solution, including Matthew Lennox from West Palm Beach, Florida-based Stormseal.
“I’ve been talking with USACE for the past 5 years outlining the benefits of Stormseal,” Mr. Lennox said. “I’m so thrilled we could assist Operation Blue Roof and those affected by Hurricane Ida.”
The shrink wrap pilot program involves installing Stormseal’s product over a damaged roof, secured at the perimeter with furring strips. A contractor then uses heat to shrink the material and create a water-tight seal.
The selection process was done using the Center for Disease Control’s Social Vulnerability Index, to determine areas that needed the most support.
Homeowner Diane Gros, in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, said she had exhausted all of her options to make the necessary repairs to her home and didn’t have insurance. “Thank you all for what you are doing,” she said. “Until you called, nobody was willing to help me. What you are doing is pretty amazing.”
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Memphis District and Hurricane Ida Recovery Field Office commander, Col. Zachary Miller, said he’s optimistic about the potential uses for the new program.
“If this pilot program works as intended, it could really be a game changer for survivors needing a temporary roof following a major storm event,” he said. “Disasters can devastate a region but being able to stay in your home while you recover is a win-win for the survivor and the community.”
USACE and FEMA will evaluate the program to decide whether it can be used to help people affected by future natural disasters.