Insurance Group Publishes Manufactured Housing Tornado Checklist

National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) CollectionWhile many manufactured and mobile homes are damaged or destroyed each year by tornadoes, many site-built houses are also destroyed. The truth is few structures can withstand the direct impact from a tornado. With that in mind the Insurance Institute for Business Safety (IBHS) has issued a Manufactured Home Inspection Checklist to help consumers gauge how vulnerable their home might be in the event of a tornado. A look at the check list reveals many items that could apply to most any home regardless of how it was constructed, including questions about the location of trees and power lines. The release that accompanied the checklist was less than certain about the dangers. “Residents of manufactured homes seem to be disproportionately affected by tornadoes and other types of windstorms,”Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO of IBHS was quoted as saying. The article sites HUD Wind-Zone standards, of 70 mph to 110 mph. Many tornadoes are stronger, with an average speed between 130mph and 160mph. Most homes of any kind are only built to withstand winds of about 90mph, however. A recent article in Realty Biz News quotes Larry Tanner, a structural engineer at the Wind Engineering Research Center in Texas Tech University who says the average US home simply doesn’t stand a chance once it falls into the path of a tornado. Another interesting point from the article is that the average US home is expected to have a lifespan of around 50 years, “and the chances of it being hit by a tornado in that time are incredibly small.” While the checklist is useful, the report itself says never ride out a storm in a manufactured home (we would add any home) and any suggestion that following the checklist can help a home survive a direct hit from a tornado, or that your chances are better in a site-built home, is misleading.

(Image Credit: National Severe Storms Laboratory)

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