Emergency Steel Services: Suppliers’ Role in Natural Disasters

August 17, 2023 | Categorized in:

Houston flooding after Hurricane Harvey

Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods — extreme weather can leave trails of destruction and loss in communities worldwide. However, one material is known for withstanding the high winds, heat, and water exposure brought on by natural disasters: steel. Alongside first responders, steel suppliers work to protect and rebuild during relief efforts.

Recent natural disasters where steel was crucial to rebuild

While there’s not much we can do to prevent ecological catastrophes from happening, what we can do is best prepare for them and their aftermath. Let’s explore some major examples where steel has been instrumental in restoration efforts and how it has helped communities not only recover, but come back stronger.

Moore Tornado (2013)

In 2013, Moore, Oklahoma was struck by a powerful EF5 tornado that traveled 14 miles in 40 minutes, claiming 24 lives and causing billions of dollars in damages along the way. During the recovery period, steel beams and walls were used to reconstruct damaged buildings, schools, and homes, providing added strength and resilience to withstand future storms. In addition, more steel-fortified tornado-resistant safe rooms and storm shelters were built to ensure the safety of residents during future weather events.

Great Smoky Mountains Wildfires (2016)

The Great Smoky Mountains Wildfires of 2016 were devastating. According to Knox News, the fires spanned an area of over 17,000 acres and destroyed over 2,400 structures across the region, resulting in $500 million in recovery costs and claiming the lives of 14 individuals. Steel is typically used to rebuild fire-prone areas because it’s a strong ignition deterrent, which can help prevent the spread of flames and wildfires.

Hurricane Harvey (2017)

Hurricane Harvey, a devastating Category 4 storm, made landfall in Texas on August 25, 2017, damaging over 150,000 homes and killing 68 people. The estimated cost of damages reached a staggering $125 billion. Being located on the Gulf ourselves, we’ve seen firsthand the destruction that storms like this can leave in their wake. Steel’s ability to resist corrosion after exposure to water has proven invaluable in reinforcing foundations, constructing roofs, and more to protect against tropical storms and hurricanes.

Camp Fire (2018)

In 2018, California experienced one of the most devastating natural disasters in its history: Camp Fire. Covering nearly 154,000 acres, this disastrous blaze destroyed more than 18,000 buildings and resulted in the loss of 85 lives. It was also the costliest natural disaster globally that year, costing affected areas $19.5 billion in damages. As part of the recovery process, home manufacturer Design Horizons constructed fire-resistant homes built with layers of noncombustible steel framing, should a similar event happen again.

Texas Freeze (2021)

Lasting almost nine days, the Texas Freeze in February 2021 caused an estimated one billion dollars worth of damages. With burst water pipes, water shortages, and extensive power outages that left over 10 million people without electricity, the extreme conditions took the lives of 246 people. However, the full extent of the structural damage is still uncertain.

Recovery efforts so far have focused on restoring power lines and repairing roads. However, local agencies and government entities are still assessing damages to take further necessary action. Nonetheless, steel offers a dependable solution for houses and buildings that need stronger roofs to withstand the pressure of snow accumulation and better resistance to freezing temperatures.

Hurricane Ian (2022)

In late September 2022, Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc along the southeastern United States, making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Florida’s western coast. At least 154 fatalities occurred as a result of catastrophic conditions, with damages estimated to be around $113 billion. To help rebuild and strengthen affected homes, structural steel has been used to help reinforce these houses to withstand the impact of hurricane-force winds.

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How steel suppliers help in emergency situations

Steel suppliers help uplift communities in the following ways:

  • Reconstruction: After a natural disaster, steel beams are often used to restore and reinforce new buildings and infrastructure.
  • Preventative Measures: Steel can also be used proactively to prevent damage. For example, steel piling can protect against floods, reinforced foundations can withstand earthquakes, and metal roofing can withstand hurricanes.
  • Rapid Sourcing: Steel suppliers work with contractors and construction teams to quickly provide materials during emergencies, helping affected areas rebuild efficiently and minimize the financial impact of natural disasters.
  • Expert Insight: Steel suppliers also offer guidance on the best use of steel materials in structural relief efforts. Their knowledge and experience contribute to decision-making, ensuring the selection of appropriate steel products that can withstand the effects of natural disasters.

With the support of steel suppliers, communities can recover and construct resilient structures capable of withstanding future catastrophes.

Get steel to stand the test of time

While we can’t predict and control Mother Nature, we can control how we build and prepare for it. With almost 60 years of experience, our services and steel inventory are built to stand the test of time. Our dedicated team understands the urgency and importance of providing materials in emergency situations, and we work tirelessly to ensure a seamless and prompt delivery.

To learn more about how our steel materials can help you prepare for and recover from natural disasters, request a quote or call our team today. We are here to support your construction projects and help you build structures that can withstand the unpredictable forces of nature.