The March 1st tornado in Enterprise damaged over 200 buildings, and destroyed the majority of them. That's why officials with FEMA are stepping into the classroom to teach high school students how to build safer structures.
FEMA officials are using a small structure called the "Dawg Haus", an acronym used by the department for it’s tornado-resistant demonstration structure, to teach students how to build safer homes. The structure incorporates state of the art construction tactics that FEMA engineers have developed after studying buildings devastated by different kinds of natural disasters.
"What we've found is that's it's usually not the material that fails; it's the joints of the material that fails. So what we have incorporated here is a way to demonstrate the proper way to install strapping and mechanical fasteners to strengthen the weak part of the homes," said Britt Bochiardy, with FEMA.
Construction students from Enterprise High School will use the “Dawg Haus” as a model to construct their own, then display it around the city to teach others how to build safe rooms and stronger houses.
"I think it will be great for a lot of the families around here. With the houses being about 50 years old, I think it would help them in getting grants from FEMA to build better houses that can withstand storms in the future," said Doug Brown, an Enterprise High School student.
"I think that it will be a great learning experience for all of us and a great learning experience for the community if they can look around and see something that can help them after what's happened," said Jeslyn Jones, another student.
Once Enterprise High School students build an exact replica of the “Dawg Haus,” the structure will go on tour throughout Alabama so that students can learn how to construct stronger homes and buildings in the future
For more information about how to apply for grants to build stronger homes and safe rooms, visit FEMA's website at www.fema.gov.