Residents recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida are thankful for an innovative U.S. Army program - with support from friends ‘down under.’
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 Stormseal, based in Sydney, Australia.
“I’ve been talking with USACE for the past 5 years outlining the benefits of Stormseal. I’m so thrilled we could assist Operation Blue Roof and those affected by Hurricane Ida," Mr Lennox said.
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.”
Invented by an experienced licensed builder, Stormseal is a lightweight but strong polymer film that heat-shrinks to cover a damaged structure. Unlike tarps, Stormseal stays in place, resisting all weather, until permanent repairs are made.
Award-winning Stormseal is made for emergency responders, government agencies, insurance companies and their contractors, as well as all other roofers or builders. It has been used to protect thousands of storm-damaged properties around the world.
The low-density film comes on a compact roll for easy storage and transport: one roll (200m2) fits easily in a utility vehicle, along with the necessary tools. All installers are trained to complete a damage report on arrival at the worksite.The Stormseal film is cut and tailored on-site to fit the damaged structure and, because Stormseal is much lighter than tarpaulins, it doesn't require sandbags or ropes (removed easier and faster).
Attachment occurs at the perimeter of the damaged area, so installers spend less time on the roof, reducing risk and cost. Heat-shrinking means the strength of the Stormseal film is increased and fits it snugly to the structure, without harming underlying materials.Stormseal can be easily removed and reapplied for roof inspections when needed.
USACE and FEMA will evaluate the program to decide whether it can be used to help people affected by future natural disasters.