Archive for the tag 'disaster'

Post-disaster housing prototype project


Last Saturday, a prototype for emergency living quarters was unveiled. The experimental post-disaster housing module stacks five steel units on top of each other like Lego pieces to create accommodations that are more comfortable than your rotting, soggy home after Superstorm Sandy.

The project has been in the works for six years now. The NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the Army Corps of Engineers all came together to help create the prototype.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:

The prototype includes a living area, bedrooms, bathroom, fully-equipped kitchen and storage areas, but the configuration is flexible, said project architect Jim Garrison, a professor at Pratt and principal of Garrison Architects.

The next step, Garrison said, is to connect the prototype to city utilities and then test it out with human guinea pigs.

“The idea is, try it out, solve all the problems, and then you’re ready to build quickly when the time comes,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The project was run by Housing Recovery Program Manager at OEM Cynthia Barton. The housing project has been in the works since 2008, when Barton brainstormed the “What If New York City…” design competition.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

The  12’ by 40’ units are a far cry from poorly insulated FEMA trailers, and can fit more people onto the available land. They are cool in the summer and warm in the winter, Garrison said. The balconies keep the sun from shining directly into the interior, and the insulation keeps the heat and AC from escaping.

And as the Daily Mail reported, the Lego-style homes will be the the nation’s first “urban post disaster prototype.” Three of these houses have been erected in Downtown Brooklyn and they will stay up for a year, during which time volunteer students from NYU-Poly will live in them to see how they fare.

It actually looks pretty cozy. I wonder if maybe we can solve New York City’s affordable housing crisis with these. They’ve even got balconies!

Here are some photos of the units and the construction process, released by OEM via Facebook:

sb_heart911HEART 9/11, a disaster response organization dedicated to facilitating physical and emotional recovery after traumatic events, is offering an eight-week Resilience Boot Camp course for residents of Gerritsen Beach and the surrounding area who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The program, which is free of charge, will teach mindfulness and stress reduction skills to better manage traumatic situations and improve resilience.

Weekly sessions will take place at the Gerritsen Beach Fire Department “Vollies,” 52 Seba Avenue, every Thursday from March 27 to May 22, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Once trained, community members will be able to offer the program in their own community to others on an on-going basis.

“With the number of natural disasters on the rise, this is an important step to creating permanent improvements in the psychological health of individuals, families and communities impacted by disaster,” said Dr. Leo Flanagan, HEART 9/11’s, director of Community Resilience.

Resilience Boot Camp’s benefits to participants include:

  • Increased well-being and happiness
  • Ability to set and achieve goals that are important to you
  • Reduce feelings of stress and negativity
  • Recovery from cognitive, emotional, and social impacts of traumatic events
  • Improved behavioral and physical health post-disaster

To register for Resilience Boot Camp, email or call (862) 902-5471 extension 101. For more information, visit

Two of four panels created by Governor Andrew Cuomo examining different aspects of disaster preparedness have delivered a short list of preliminary recommendations to the state executive’s desk. And we’re turning to you, who saw the disaster response first-hand, how the government can do better in the future.

Of the four panels, the two that provided preliminary recommendations that may be included in Cuomo’s State of the State speech next week is one to ensure infrastructure, systems and services would be prepared for future emergencies, and the other examined the state’s ability to respond to future disasters.

Some of the recommendations are:

  • Create a strategic fuel reserve
  • Require gas stations to install generators
  • Update building codes
  • Develop emergency training for local officials
  • Develop databases tracking vulnerable residents including the elderly and disabled
  • Train National Guard soldiers to assist with power restoration
  • Stockpile emergency equipment and supplies
  • Expand use of text messaging to communicate emergency messages from the government

These recommendations, of course, are just the start, and will be expanded and evaluated more fully down the road. But, on the surface, some appear to be pragmatic solutions – like updating building codes – while others seem outright impractical or unlikely to help in a real-world disaster, such as the database of vulnerable residents.

But you lived through the storm, and saw first-hand what many of these experts and leaders didn’t – a full accounting of what worked, what didn’t work, and what more needs to be done.

So share your insight here: what are your suggestions for better disaster response in the future?

Source: Mephell/

According to a report by, a research and consulting organization, 64 percent of Americans are woefully unprepared for a major natural disaster, even after the events of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and a series of other major natural disasters smacking us around in recent years.

The report finds that people making disaster-readiness plans has slightly increased from 31 percent to 36 percent since 2011, showing that the majority of Americans have failed to adequately prepare themselves in the event of another major disaster. This is the breakdown of YouGov’s numbers,

Of the 36 percent who said they were equipped for natural disasters, their preparations included the following:

  • Emergency supplies (for example, flashlights or first-aid kits): 89 percent
  • Food stocks: 74 percent
  • Creating an evacuation or an emergency plan: 50 percent
  • Disaster insurance: 22 percent

Of the 89 percent who had emergency supplies, their supplies included the following:

  • Flashlights:  97 percent
  • Water:  92 percent
  • First-aid kits or medicine:  92 percent
  • Sleeping bags or blankets:  83 percent
  • Face masks: 18 percent
  • Iodine pills:  15 percent

While general preparedness is low, concern and fear over another natural disaster has increased, especially across the Northeast, where 31 percent report that they are “very concerned” following Hurricane Sand, doubled from the previous year’s report of 17 percent concern in polling done after Tropical Storm Irene, the highest percentage in the country.

A lot of people have prognosticated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that this was finally the storm that got everyone’s attention, and that in the future, people will be more prepared for the advent of another natural catastrophe. I’m not so sure. While Sandy’s devastation was massive and destabilizing, only time will tell how New Yorkers will prepare and respond, both personally, and politically, should another superstorm come to wreck our city.