There’s everything to love about a mobile home, especially for those who love the outdoors.
But how safe are mobile homes?
Mobile homes are incapable of giving you the one thing that a traditional house can give you. It’s ‘safety’ from danger, especially from natural calamities.
Fortunately for you, that’s a thing of the past. Nowadays you can get a monsoon or hurricane proof mobile home manufactured for you. Old mobile homes were too weak to stand their ground let alone protect them against tornadoes and hurricanes. The new ones can provide the same safety level.
As the new craze of the 21st century, the modern nomads love the idea of a mobile home. And more and more young citizens are looking to jump the bandwagon. A manufactured mobile home that can emulate the same level of safety as a normal house is just the thing we all needed.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the safety of a mobile home in times of natural unrest.
Why You Should Increase Safety of Your Mobile Home?
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t increase the safety level. In fact, mobile homes do not even have the minimum safety assurance needed for a comfortable living.
According to the National Weather Service and NOAA, mobile homes are one of the riskiest places to be when a hurricane hits. The advice is to leave the home and take shelter under a building.
Why you should increase safety? Here are a few reasons,
To Save Lives
If the cost of affordable living means you can’t ensure a safe living, it’s not something to look forward to. I think we all agree at this point. In a recent survey, most mobile home residents in the USA are in the south. And it’s also the most hurricane-prone season on the planet.
Hurricanes and tornadoes will make a massacre out of your trusty and loving home. In the old design, they didn’t account for the storms chasing because it never occurred to people that this temporary home would become a permanent home for some.
The reason is obvious; the old mobile home design is only a disaster away from causing deaths.
To stay safe from hurricanes and storms, hurricane-proofing your mobile home should be your first step.
To Stay Safe from Robbery and Theft
Theft and robbery in mobiles homes have been a common occurrence across the USA. It doesn’t come as a surprise since a mobile home has only a few ways to ensure safety.
Even if you are not in danger of any theft or robbery, living in a rich neighborhood will cause the criminal-minded to poke around. Installing all the safety and security measures is the first step.
Can a Mobile Home Withstand a Hurricane?
Do you want the shortest answer? It’s a big fat NO.
By their nature, mobile homes are too fragile to stand their ground against a hurricane. Even category one hurricane winds are strong enough to topple a few.
What do I mean by their nature? It’s the construction design. The broadsides act as the sail and catch the wind blowing into it. You can observe massive flexes on the exterior and inside.
What will happen if a category 5 hurricane hits a mobile home?
Honestly, I’d be glad if I found it in one piece after such an incident. In such cases, even the most structured traditional home sees massive amounts of damage.
Tips for Making Your Mobile Home Hurricane Proof
This here is the main reason why manufactured mobile homes perform well. Tie-down, also known as “anchoring”, is the best way to secure and fix the home in place.
While we’re on the subject, do try to choose the best anchor. It’s going to matter in a life-and-death situation.
There are two types of anchoring systems widely available.
- Top anchor or top tie-down
- Frame anchor
Both of these are good enough to protect your home against strong winds. But the frame anchor is more reliable since all mobile homes stay over concrete piers.
As the name means, it’s a way to hold down a home by holding the roof/structure down. The ties go over the house and wrap it around. While it may not look pleasing to the eye, it’s something you need if you live in a hurricane-prone region.
You can reduce the ugliness by integrating the top anchoring design with the roof or siding.
Unlike the top anchor, the frame anchor is hidden underground by nature. It’s a more common type of anchor and is used frequently. It doesn’t give you an eyesore like the top one does as they are installed from the underside of the house.
Choose a Good Location
Where are you thinking of putting down the mobile home? You must give some thought to it. Don’t choose a location that has seen extreme winds and cat 4 or 5 hurricanes. How do you make the right choice?
I think the simplest way to go about it is to follow the guidelines set by the manufacturers. Manufactured mobile homes are made to withstand wind speeds of category 1, 2, and 3 hurricanes.
But manufacturers created a few wind zones and designed different mobile homes depending on different wind speeds. But what are wind zones, and how do they help us? We’ll shed some light on it later in this article.
So, choose the appropriate wind zone you want to live in and buy the mobile home designed for that exact condition. On a limited budget, you could do it the other way and buy the mobile home first. Your wind zone is automatically selected.
Ensure Safety Level of the Surroundings
What do you see when you look outside through the window? It’s important to note the immediate structures and objects around your house. The structures attached to your house are even more important. You may have a carport or the beautiful porch you’ve been dreaming about.
The sad news is the risk they bring to your home. They might sink you in both metaphorical and literal meaning.
Even if you choose the right wind zone to place your mobile home, those surroundings will cause issues since they are not built with the same safety standards.
You’re expecting your mobile home to withstand the wind speeds, but you forgot about the carport which is highly vulnerable against the weak winds.
The attachments to your home will degrade the level of safety you paid for.
Clear the Surrounding
One of the most common causes of injuries during a hurricane is flying debris. Despite having a hurricane-proof home, you and your loved ones will be exposed to accidents when debris hits your home.
You might think the debris is caused by the hurricane itself, but it isn’t the case. Most of that debris is from things that we throw out.
Avoiding such cases is a simple issue. Ask the local authority to ensure proper usage of the trash can. Broken parts of electronic devices are known health hazards. Regularly clean the yard and nearby areas, especially during the hurricane season.
What to Do If Your Mobile Home Is Affected During a Hurricane?
We can’t rule out getting affected by hurricanes even after putting your 100% effort to secure it. A mobile home is still a mobile home. And when shit hits the fan, you need to think about your course of action pronto. Here are some ideas to keep in mind,
Leave the home, if:
- There’s a shelter nearby
- You can move without being injured
If you can’t leave the home,
- Tie down the home into the ground when the hurricane is still far away (applicable for those with a manufactured home with anchoring options)
- Go and lie down in a ditch
- Go to your personal storm shelter if you have one
- Keep the loose items of your mobile home under your bed or any closed enclosure, so that don’t start flying around (you need to do this before the hurricane hits)
A pro tip: Build a basement-ish shelter under your mobile home in case of emergency.
When you’re outside, do the following,
- Tie any swing sets or loose items around you into the ground
- Stay away from trees
- Move along concrete structures to minimize the hurricane’s effects
What Are Wind Zones?
Wind zones are an area scheme planned by mobile home manufacturers. The geography is divided into different wind zones determined by the respective maximum sustained wind speeds. The higher the wind speed, the higher a wind zone is rated.
For instance, Wind zone 1 refers to an area with a constant wind speed of 70 mph or less.
The set wind speeds for each wind zone vary a little from organization to organization.
According to FEMA 85 and NFPA’s wind map,
- Zone 1: Areas inside the 90-mph isotach
- Zone 2: Areas inside the 90-mph and the 110-mph isotachs
- Zone 3: Areas inside the 110-mph and the 130-mph isotachs
- Zone 4: Areas inside the 130-mph and 150-mph isotachs
Frequently Asked Questions
How much wind can a mobile home withstand during a hurricane?
No mobile home without a good grounding can withstand the weakest of hurricanes. The latest manufactured mobile homes, on the other hand, are a different story.
According to manufacturing standards, a mobile home should be able to withstand winds with a constant velocity of 160 mph. Depending on the wind zone, the limit can vary.
Is a mobile home safe in a lightning storm?
If it’s only a lightning storm without strong winds, you’d be perfectly safe inside a mobile home. However, severe hailstorms can damage the exterior.
Can modular homes withstand a hurricane?
While you can’t claim that “any” home is purely hurricane-proof, modular homes tend to do perform well enough to grant it a hurricane-proof certificate.
Are manufactured homes and mobile homes the same?
Yes, they are virtually the same thing, except mobile home is a more general term that includes both the old design and the modern modular design.
How many wind zones are there?
The number of wind zones will vary depending on who you ask. FEMA 85 and NFPA 501 standard on manufactured homes divide the total area into 4 wind zones while HUD decided on 3 zones.
A hurricane proof mobile home is going to help you and your family to survive a catastrophic event. It’s going to make more sense if you look at it as an investment rather than an expenditure.
Think about it! You’re getting the reliability of a traditional house from a manufactured home. This level of durability is only going to make people more comfortable with the idea.
But you’ll also have to be extremely cautious when choosing an area to settle down. If you choose the wrong wind zone, you might as well have poured the money into a drain.