Instead of engaging in partisan bickering, our representatives in Congress need to move decisively to adopt proven strategies that will mitigate against future disasters and save taxpayer money ("Disaster-aid breakthrough leaves congressional bitterness,", Tuesday).

Florida Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart, Steve Southerland and Allen West have introduced legislation that would provide financial incentives for states to adopt strong model building codes to fortify our defenses against nature's forces.

According to a landmark study by Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center, strong building codes would have reduced wind damage from Hurricane Katrina by 80 percent, saving about $8 billion.

A study by the Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety found that the damage from Hurricane Andrew in Florida would have been reduced by nearly 50 percent, had Florida's existing strong building codes been in place then.

The evidence is overwhelming. Strong building codes save lives, protect property and ultimately reduce taxpayer exposure to natural disasters. The problem is too few states have strong codes or lack the enforcement mechanisms to give their codes real teeth.

Adoption of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act would provide momentum in state capitols across the nation to follow the Florida model and adopt model building codes. This vital legislation should be adopted before the next big storm hits the nation.

Joseph Myers Former director, Florida Division of Emergency Management

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