In the wake of Hurricane Irma, many Florida homeowners are left with severely damaged roofs. And in some cases, this can make the home uninhabitable. The Political Observer reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have activated Operation Blue Roof to solve this crisis. The program provides a plastic blue sheet to eligible homeowners, covering roof damage until they are able to schedule repairs.
According to the FEMA website, the program is open to primary residences in Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties at this time. Renters must have legal permission from their property owners before a blue roof is installed in their rented home.
Most roofs are engineered to withstand certain levels of rain and wind. Even flat roofs are built on a slope, with .25 inches of rise for every 12 inches of drainage. But even the strongest roofs may not hold up to storms like Irma. In a statement to WESH, roofing company owner Russ Noyes said that he has been overwhelmed with the number of maintenance requests since the storm.
“We’ve had two to three hundred emails every day that we’ve been dealing with. We can get to about 60 customers a week, so that gives you an idea how long it will take,” he said. “I’m working daylight to dark, and sometimes after dark.”
Operation Blue Roof is meant to help residence stay patient while waiting for repair companies like Noyes’. According to USACE district commander Col. Jason Kirk, the blue roofs also symbolize community recovery.
“The first temporary roof installation is a significant milestone for people impacted by Hurricane Irma,” he said in a FEMA news release. “The blue covers are a tangible sign to the community that ensuring their safety, security, and peace of mind is our top priority.”
If you are in need of a blue roof, you will first need to sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form. This gives permission for government employees to enter your property. A list of ROE pickup locations can be found on the FEMA website.