Central Oklahoma Habitat Introduces First FORTIFIED Home at House Dedication Event

Media Contact

Nicole Tobin
Central Oklahoma, Habitat for Humanity

Tiffany O’Shea
(512) 636-7811

Kelly Dexter
OK Insurance Department
(405) 522-0683

OKLAHOMA CITY, February 24, 2017 – The Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity affiliate (COHFH) and experts from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today held a House Dedication to present the keys to a local family for the first FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail Gold home in central Oklahoma.

“Our communities in central Oklahoma continue to be hit by damaging high winds and hail, so we are pleased to partner with IBHS to build stronger homes for our families by implementing FORTIFIED Home™ superior construction standards and building practices,” said Ann Felton Gilliland, Chairman and CEO of COHFH. “We plan to build 45 FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail Gold homes during 2017 across Central Oklahoma.”

IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail building standards help homeowners strengthen their homes against low-level tornadoes and high winds at the edges of strong tornadoes, straight-line wind events, severe thunderstorms and hail storms. The FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail program provides a uniform, voluntary, superior set of building standards to help im­prove a home’s resilience by adding system-specific upgrades to minimum code requirements. The program has three levels of designation that build upon each level — Bronze (the roof), Silver (gable ends, chimneys and attachments like porches and carports) and Gold (continuous load path). IBHS research shows that property damage to homes from EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes can be virtually eliminated if they are built or retrofitted using FORTIFIED standards. 

“Oklahoma averages 69 tornadoes a year,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “While tornadoes are severe weather events that people cannot control, we can use the most advanced techniques to prepare for them. The COHFH is doing the right thing by building FORTIFIED homes that will make a lasting difference in the safety and security of our communities.”

“Almost 97 percent of tornadoes that occurred in Oklahoma during the last 20 years were within the EF-0 to EF-2 range with wind speeds of 135 mph or less. If we look at the Moore 2013 tornado, 88 percent of the damage was caused by wind speeds rated EF2 or lower. If the homes in the tornado’s path had been built to the FORTIFIED Home™–High Wind & Hail Gold-level standard, it is estimated that more than 1,000 damaged homes could have withstood the destructive forces experienced that day without major damage,” continued Doak.

“People often ask why the FORTIFIED Home™ programs are necessary when many jurisdictions have building codes in place. The answer is codes appropriately provide minimum life safety protection designed to ensure people can get out of a building safely. Codes are not intended to ensure homes are habitable after a catastrophic event or to protect the contents inside a home,” said Alex Cary, manager of FORTIFIED programs.

“Habitat for Humanity is a very important partner for IBHS and the FORTIFIED Home programs. This partnership has shown that homes can be more resilient and still affordable for its partner families. We are pleased to work with the COHFH affiliate and help extend the long-lasting benefits of building stronger, safer and more durable homes for communities across Central Oklahoma,” continued Cary.

Visit fortifiedhome.org for more details about the program, including available FORTIFIED Home™ roofer, evaluator or FORTIFIED Wise™ training; how to find an evaluator, select a designation level, and document specific construction features; and other important information.

Ed. Note: Hi-definition video of testing conducted at the IBHS Research Center is available for use by the media. Please contact Tiffany Smith at (512) 636-7811 or tsmith@ibhs.org for video files.


About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity (COHFH)

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited-income families. The organization has built more than 800 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged.

About the Oklahoma Insurance Department

The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.

About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.