St. Augustine man creates hurricane panels to protect from storm surge

By Allyson Henning - Reporter, Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A St. Augustine man has developed a unique way to protect home's from a storm from storm surge and debris during a hurricane.

The Rampart Flood Defense System is about two years in the making and according to Sam Barresi, there’s currently a patent pending on it.

Barresi came up with the idea after sandbags didn’t stop the flooding during hurricane Matthew.

The storm surge from Hurricane Matthew flooded out St. Augustine homes with about 6 inches of water. It destroyed the walls, floors, and furniture and forced some homeowners to gut their homes.

Inspiration struck Barresi as he was helping his stepson with repairs.

“While I was here working, I looked at it and I said, (with) my 52 years’ experience as an engineer construction engineer, there’s got to be a way of protecting this house from the hurricane storm surge,” said Barresi.

So he got to work developing the Rampart Flood Defense System.

The panels have a steel face on each side, two inches of urethane foam in the middle, and gaskets sealing its entire perimeter- protecting a structure from up to several feet of water. They’re also 50 pounds or lighter so it would only take about an hour or two for you and a helper to get the panels in place around a house.

“If your house was flooded in Matthew or Irma, there is a good chance that this will protect you from another flood,” said Barresi.

Homeowner Gary Safreed wanted to try out the system once Barresi told him about it.

“This house had water in it from the hurricane two years ago and we did a complete remodel and I didn’t want water to come back in,” said Safreed

The Rampart Flood Defense system costs about three times more than a steel panel itself.

Barresi says his panels are Miami-Dade approved for high impact hurricane wind protection.

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