Oklahomans are no strangers to severe weather. In fact, many of us are culturally wired to go outside when clouds darken, winds howl, and thunder rumbles. It can take an oncoming storm before neighbors are lured from from their homes onto their driveways or apartment balconies, talking to each other—maybe for the first time—about how it was 75 and sunny just a few hours earlier.
From plummeting temperatures and power surges to devastating tornadoes and unexpected earthquakes, the weather isn’t just small talk in Oklahoma—it’s a shared experience. Living here, you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That’s why Tim Lovell, executive director of the Tulsa-based Disaster Resilience Network, says the most resilient communities are the most connected communities.
“Resilience starts where neighbor gets to know neighbor, where neighbor helps neighbor,” Lovell said. “You can have an emergency preparedness plan with a kit, you can have your [safe room] in your house with all your supplies...but if you’re not connected to the outside world, you’ve lost something.”
Lovell’s philosophy is a big reason why The Joinery is partnering with Disaster Resilience Network (DRN)—that and the nonprofit's mission to promote sustainable building practices that can ultimately save lives.
DRN empowers people, businesses, and communities to reduce the impact of disasters through three core programs:
Providing materials and learning sessions in multiple languages through the Cross-Cultural Council.
Educating small businesses on preparedness through the Business Council.
Promoting stronger and weather-resistant homes through the Housing Council.
We’re focusing on that last one: DRN's Housing Council is going to help The Joinery qualify as a FORTIFIED Home™—premier structural reinforcement against severe thunderstorms, hail, straight-line wind events, and high winds at the edges of tornadoes.
Pursuing this standard along with the Living Building Challenge™ adds another layer of design, documentation, and evaluation to our project. But one of our key goals is to serve “as a model of innovative, sustainable design in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and beyond.”
And to achieve that, we have to consider the power of Mother Nature.
"To me [The Joinery is] the highlight of everything with the Housing Council—about where I’d like to see us go," Lovell said. "Something that’s innovative, moving forward and includes a green, sustainable, resilient house."
We talked with Lovell this week in a phone interview. Here’s what you need to know about our newest partner.
About Tim Lovell
As executive director of Disaster Resilience Network, Lovell does something different every day, juggling the needs of the nonprofit’s Cross-Cultural, Business, and Housing councils.
“I’ll be honest, my preference would be being out of the office networking than sitting at the computer,” he said.
Lovell works to forge public-private partnerships and grow the number of disaster-resistant communities across the state. He has lead the Disaster Resilience Network (formerly Tulsa Partners, Inc.) since 2004. He was recruited by the City of Tulsa Project Impact office in May 2000, and later that year helped create Tulsa Partners, Inc.
A personal experience with disaster did not inspire Lovell to enter this field, which is the case for most. But, having visited site after site since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, there's a reason he's made preparedness and resilience his life's work.
“I’m still doing this because I truly believe in [developing] community connections."
About The Three Councils
The DRN Cross-Cultural Council is made up of representatives largely from northeastern Oklahoma’s diverse population, which includes Burmese, Russian, and Latino communities. The goal is to make sure as many people as possible receive emergency communication in a form they can understand.
The DRN Business Council is designed to educate businesses and nonprofits about the need for emergency and continuity planning.
The DRN Housing Council is a collaboration between DRN and other entities to help people live safely and in harmony with nature. The council promotes the FORTIFIED Home™ program to build homes resistant to strong winds and hail.
FORTIFIED Home™ is a program of Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) that helps homeowners strengthen their home against wind, hail, or a combination of both.
With the help of Disaster Resilience Network, we are pursuing FORTIFIED’s High Wind & Hail Bronze Designation for The Joinery. Bronze is a viable option for new construction projects and existing homes, Lovell says, because it focuses on the integrity of the roof.
And sooner or later, as Oklahomans know, you’re going to have to get that fixed.