World first Aussie-U.S. Program to ‘Shrink-Wrap’ Homes After Hurricane

The U.S. Army has called in the Aussies to help residents recover from Hurricane Ida, which devastated the state of Louisiana.

More than 100 people were killed and countless homes damaged when 240km/hr winds made landfall near Port Fourchon on the 29th of August.

Under Operation Blue Roof, which is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), eligible homeowners can apply for a blue tarp to be put on their damaged roofs. But it doesn’t work with all roof types including tiles, slate and metal.

Enter Matthew Lennox from Stormseal, a Sydney-based company that uses a special type of polymer to ‘shrink-wrap’ damaged roofs.

“I’ve been talking with USACE for the past 5 years explaining the benefits of Stormseal,” Mr. Lennox said. “I was thrilled to learn that we could assist follow Hurricane Ida.”

The pilot ‘Shrink Film’ program involves installing Stormseal over the roof via furring strips. A contractor then uses heat to shrink the material and create a water-tight seal over the roof.

Homes were selected using the Center for Disease Control’s Social Vulnerability Index, to determine those that needed the most support.

Homeowner Diane Gros, in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, 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.”

Stormseal gives people the opportunity to stay in their homes and community without the need for relocation. “We received Australian Federal Government funding via the Accelerating Commercialisation Program for exactly this reason: to help more people globally,” Mr. Lennox said.

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.

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