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Storm and Disaster Safety: Traditional vs. Manufactured Homes

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An old stereotype holds that manufactured homes are more vulnerable to storm and disaster damage than traditionally built homes. It’s possible that this idea comes from Hollywood or local news footage of tornadoes ripping through trailer parks, leaving piles of rubble in their wake.

It's time this myth was debunked. First off, a manufactured home is not a trailer – it's a complete structure erected with the best building materials on the market. Plus, due to recent advances in construction and materials, manufactured homes are as sturdy and disaster-resistant as traditional homes.

Beyond this, more stringent standards set in the 1990s by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) require every manufactured home to be built with the capability to withstand wind speeds common in its region. Thanks to these standards, manufactured houses are no more dangerous than traditional houses in the case of tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, or other natural disasters.

A manufactured home owner has only to take the same basic precautions against storms and disasters as anyone else. For example, in cold weather, wrap your pipes in heat tape or allow hot water to drip from faucets to keep pipes from bursting, and remove excess snow and ice from your roof and overhangs.

If you are in the market for a manufactured home, make sure you buy one that has a permanent foundation and that strictly follows HUD regulations. For those in tornado-prone areas, you'll want a home that has a basement. Otherwise, as long as your home meets all the government-mandated standards, it will be as safe for you and your family in times of disaster as a traditional home would be.