FEMA Offers Rebuilding Advice at Recovery Center

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FEMA mitigation specialists at the Kea‘au Disaster Recovery Center exhibit a continuous flow model of
frame joints that can limit earthquake damage. Pictured is Jeanne Johnstone and David Kulberg.
PC: FEMA/Wendy Shapiro

FEMA recovery experts at the Kea‘au Disaster Recovery Center are offering residents advice on building back stronger from disaster damage and tips on retrofitting to protect against earthquake damage.

Whether from wind, fire, flooding or earthquake, FEMA specialists can offer advice on how to rebuild and how to prepare for multiple hazards.

With a focus on the recent earthquake activity, a “continuous load path” model is on display at the desk of


FEMA’s mitigation specialists in the Kea‘au DRC, located at Kea‘au High School Gymnasium, 16-725 Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road.

The model, a wood frame construction, shows how residents can provide high levels of security for hazard events such as earthquakes. It displays a relatively inexpensive way to reinforce joints with metal connectors and make the house more resistant to damage from the elements, particularly where the rafter meets the wall, according to David Kulberg, a FEMA hazard mitigation specialist.

Force is transferred to the rafter at the top of the wall that is typically the weakest connection in the house. The forces continues down through the wall to the bottom plate and into the foundation, which completes the continuous load path. The metal connectors reinforce every joint.


“Hawai‘i is subject to all hazards and we encourage residents to rebuild to protect their family and property from the effects of potentially devastating losses,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Bern Ruiz, who is directing the federal recovery effort here. “Our mitigation experts at the DRC have tips for building back stronger for everyone from the do-it-yourselfer to the professional contractor.”

Click on the links below for more information on how to protect your property or business from disaster:

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