Whether it’s your home, your children’s school or some other structure that you and your loved ones spend time in, nothing beats knowing that you’re in a place that cannot be destroyed by most natural or manmade disasters. That’s the confidence Monolithic Domes offer. They meet or exceed FEMA’s standards for providing near-absolute protection. Monolithic Domes are proven survivors of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires.
Like most of the Caribbean islands, St. Lucia is vulnerable to hurricanes. On the average, a severe storm brushes the area about every four years. The last one was Hurricane Dean, which blew by with 100 mile per hour winds in 2007 and tore many roofs away, even in the elegant community of Vigie, Castries where residences are supposed to be built well. The area’s vulnerability to hurricanes is one of the reasons that real estate developer John Craciun is looking to build Monolithic Domes in St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean.
A Thursday evening in September was quiet until the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were called to a fire in one of our rental domes. But the interesting part of this story is that the fire, inside the dome, extinguished itself!
Two Monolithic Domes endured and survived Hurricane Keith’s rampage virtually unscathed! They are the Monolithic Domes at the Xanadu Island Resort owned and managed by Ivan and Judy Sheinbaum on Ambergris Caye.
With hurricane season just around the corner, there’s a renewed focus on the Monolithic Dome’s ability to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s standards for near-absolute protection. Or as one blogger recently put it, people are interested in dome homes partly because they are the “most comfortable storm shelter you could ever live in.” But the article posted on the site, ForcedGreen.com, went on to recount the many other advantages offered by these so-called ”super structures,” and there are many.
The concrete dome is similar in shape and structure to an egg which has always been a fascination. The egg shows us that a relatively soft and weak material can be used to create a very strong structural shape. A simple demonstration illustrating the strength of an egg was made using a 2′ × 10′ wood plank, supported on one end by a rigid support and on the other end by one hard boiled egg. Four bags of Portland Cement were placed on the plank, at center span, one at a time, for a total of 376 pounds or 188 pounds on one egg. The shell did not crack! Such is the strength of some domes.
Polk County, Florida is all too familiar with the devastation of hurricanes. Three major hurricanes hit the state in the span of two months in 2004, flooding the county with high winds and torrential rains. Five years later, some are wondering whether local residents have developed disaster amnesia. In a series of articles on the lessons learned from the hurricanes, the News Chief quotes experts who warn about the importance of preparedness. Among those quoted is the Monolithic Dome Institute’s own David South.
According to the experts, when lightning strikes a Monolithic Dome the electricty will travel to the rebar and dissipate into the footing. Lightning rods are used in conventional homes to prevent the lightning from traveling through the highly resistive wood of the home and starting a fire. They are unnecessary in a Monolithic Dome. The structure is already grounded.
In simple terms, a Monolithic Dome will keep you and your loved ones safe during an earthquake. The dome has no moment connections – those points at which a wall meets a roof or a floor attaches to a wall. An earthquake can and often does disconnect those moment connections. They just come apart. But a Monolithic Dome is more like an upside-down bowl, with zero connections to fatigue or disconnect. In general, an earthquake will put no more pressure on a dome than a good snow load.
Almost two years ago David B. South, president of Monolithic, received a letter from Jim Mickey, Environmental Planner with the Licking County Planning Department in Ohio. It stated that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is approving a grant for the construction of Monolithic Dome disaster shelters. This month, Monolithic Constructors, Inc., using the services of Marty Heaton, began work on the first two units.
Residents of mobile home parks are among the most vulnerable to tornadoes. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, about half of tornado fatalities occur in mobile homes even though only 7 percent of the population lives in these types of manufactured homes.
Deaths, injuries and property damage caused by tornadoes and hurricanes can be prevented. That’s the primary and most important conclusion FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) reaches in its manual, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Shelters. But this manual doesn’t stop there. It not only says that structures strong enough to survive tornadoes and hurricanes can be built, it actually tells people how to do that.
Terry Gray, State Hazard Mitigation Officer and Mitigation Branch Chief for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) sent an email to more than a dozen State and/or education administrators in Arkansas and to David B. South, president of Monolithic. In it, Mr. Gray explained that during the past six years his department oversaw more than $50,000,000 in grant programs that funded more than 80 community safe rooms, mostly in schools. The email ended with an invitation to an in-depth discussion of disaster survivability, that included a presentation by David B. South — the only invited guest speaker.
Building a beach front home offers a few extra challenges such as wind, water, erosion, flying debris and corrosion. A Monolithic Dome home successfully meets each of these challenges.
The number one advantage to building a Monolithic Dome in Alaska is a shaky one — earthquakes! “Alaska is in the highest earthquake zone,” Ansel said. “We have at least one, somewhere in Alaska — very often.” (Officially, Alaska averages 80 earthquakes a month.) “Monolithic Domes successfully survive those shakers.”
On September 1, Category 2 Hurricane Gustav blasted our southern coast, killing 138 people and causing an estimated $15 billion in damages. Just twelve days later, Category 2 Hurricane Ike, the third costliest U.S. hurricane and the most expensive in Texas history, killed 96 people and destroyed property to the tune of $27 billion. Monolithic Domes not only survive but protect….
Dennis A. Quan currently works as Benefit Cost Analyst/Engineer with James Lee Witt Associates, the emergency preparedness and management experts of GlobalOptions Group. His past positions include Emergency Manager with the State of Florida, Division of Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation Engineer/officer with FEMA. That experience has prompted Mr. Quan to complete a thought-provoking report about the strength and endurance of structures during natural disasters.