ORLANDO, Fla. - Hurricanes Charlie and Katrina hit Florida hard in 2004 and 2005, leaving behind major damage, especially in mobile home parks. That devastation prompted state officials to become proactive.
Since then, mobile homes manufactured before 1999 are getting enhanced at no cost to the owner through the mobile home tie-down program.
"It has to be accessible, so in other words, the skirting is removable, we have to put at least four components down to the ground," said Brenton Mayhle, with Storm Ready Services, adding that the tie-down consists of several components to secure the mobile home, including anchors, plates and straps.
The new standards for tie-downs requires more anchoring placed down on the ground every 5 feet and 4 inches, Mayhle said. The anchor is a 4-foot metal device with a 6-inch helix that's then corkscrewed in the ground.
"Then, a strap is connected from the anchor head to the frame in order to keep the frame down to the ground," Mayhle said about the installation process.
One significant element that's made a difference in the way mobile homes are tied down is a metal plate.
"This is a stabilizing device approved by the state of Florida. This plate keeps this anchor in place so the anchor cannot pull through the dirt, back and forth," said Rob Boulware, who's been servicing mobile homes for 26 years. Boulware said the original tie-down method did not work properly, making the mobile homes more vulnerable to powerful winds.
"The wraparound strap can move east and west and north and south because of the design called the belt buckle ... which is the only fastening device to hold this down to the ground," Boulware said of the system that is no longer up to Florida hurricane standards.
There are requirements to qualify for the state-funded program. Mobile homes must be at least 15 inches above the ground, the skirting must be easily removable and the home must have been built before 1999.
For information on how to participate and apply in the program, click here or call 850-201-7970.
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