Manufactured Homes and Natural Disasters

One of the most harmful misconceptions about manufactured homes and modular homes is their alleged vulnerability to fire and other natural disasters. Despite their design quality and cost benefits, many homeowners may not even consider manufactured homes because of this inaccurate perception.

It’s time to dispel this allegation once and for all.


According to a national fire safety study by the Foremost Insurance Company, site-built homes are more than twice as likely to experience a fire as manufactured homes.

That’s because fire resistance provisions of the HUD Code for manufactured homes include strict standards for fire retardation and smoke generation in materials, large windows in all bedrooms, smoke alarms, and at least two exterior doors which must be separate from each other and reachable without having to pass through other doors that can be locked. Site-built homes are required to have only one exterior door and no “reachability” requirement.

In addition, a 2011 study issued by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that both the occurrence of fire and the injury rate is lower in manufactured housing.

Tornadoes and Hurricanes

It’s a staple of local news coverage whenever a natural disaster occurs. Some reporter always focuses on a trailer park that has been devastated – while ignoring all of the site-built homes surrounding that park where the damage is just as extensive.

Obviously, any structure in the path of such rare and powerful weather may be in peril. But to suggest that manufactured homes are more vulnerable is misleading. Part of the reason for this perception is that many manufactured homes are located in rural areas in parts of the country where such events are more common.

It also doesn’t take into account the changes and upgrades in manufacturing that have been implemented since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Today’s manufactured homes are assembled to standards that are equivalent to or more stringent than regional and national building codes for site-built homes.

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