Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

Highly Popular Homeowner’s Guide Updated and Now Available

Thanks to generous support and expertise from The Actuarial Foundation, one of the most popular downloads from flash.org is now updated and available just in time to commemorate its 10th anniversary. The new, 2015 edition of If Disaster Strikes Will You Be Covered? is now available online in English and Spanish as well as limited print quantities. The Guide offers valuable consumer-focused information about homeowners insurance, natural disasters, and property protection, including:

  • An Overview of Natural Disasters
  • Types of Insurance Policies – What’s Right for You?
  • Insurance Coverage – Know Your Choices
  • Reduce Potential Damages and Premiums
  • How Do I File a Homeowner’s Claim
  • Learning the Language: A Glossary of Terms

Please share the Guide on your website by linking to the PDF or microsite, or by installing an E-book directly on your website. Limited supplies of printed versions are also available, so contact info@flash.org to help us share this valuable Guide today.

Hurricane Resilience – There’s an App for That!

On March 30, FLASH partners continued a 17-year tradition of National Hurricane Conference participation by offering nontraditional public awareness programs to the audience of emergency managers, meteorologists, public information officers, responders and others who share the tough job of preparing the public for floods, hurricanes, tropical storms, and more.

Stationed in one corner of the exhibit hall, dubbed Resilience Row, FLASH previewed its new social gaming application Last House Standing™ with play-testing, giveaways and early download options. While testing the app, National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said, “FLASH continues to keep things exciting, and this platform will connect safety to new audiences – ones who may have never been exposed to disaster resilience before.”

Just next door, FLASH Legacy Partner BASF opened a “Resilient Roof Upgrade” sweepstakes through the Great Hurricane Blowout®. FLASH Legacy Partner Portland Cement Association (PCA) showcased the story of survival behind a new Hurricane Sandy rebuilding demonstration project, and FEMA and FloodSmart were on-hand with building science guidance, updated flood insurance information, and more.

FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson led the ever-popular Media Rap Session with Dr. Rick Knabb, National Hurricane Center, Max Mayfield, WPLG-TV, Bryan Norcross, The Weather Channel, Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle, Alex Garcia, KABB Fox News 29, and Jim Forsyth, WOAI. And, FLASH SVP Tim Smail presented workshops for design professionals, homeowners, and at-risk communities.

Building Code Experts Gather Inside the Beltway

On March 12, FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson participated in ATC 117, a workshop “to review the strategies of federal agencies to encourage state and local adoption of disaster-resistant codes and standards to improve resiliency nationwide.”

Meeting attendees included a “Who’s Who” of building code, design, disaster safety, risk communication and other experts, including AIA, BOMA, CUSEC, DHS, ICC, FEMA, FLASH, HUD, IBHS, NAHB, NOAA, NFPA, NIST, Tulsa Partners and Wharton School. Christopher Jones, P.E. facilitated the gathering which resulted in a consensus list of recommendations for advancement of better building codes and enforcement.

“We are very encouraged by the breadth and strength of the voices represented in the workshop,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “And we applaud the White House and our FEMA partners for their leadership on strong building codes and enforcement.”

Don’t Get Burned by Your Chimney

Following the South Napa earthquake on August 24, 2014, FLASH Legacy Partner FEMA and Applied Technology Council (ATC) released a new Recovery Advisory, Repair of Earthquake-Damaged Masonry Fireplace Chimneys. The Recovery Advisory outlines best practices for reconstruction of earthquake‐damaged masonry chimneys in one‐ and two‐family dwellings to minimize risk of damage in future earthquakes, including the following retrofit recommendations:

  • Capping the chimney at roof level
  • Maintain the existing fireplace and reconstruct a new firebox
  • Use a fireplace insert and reconstruct a new firebox
  • Full reconstruction of the fireplace and firebox

“We issued this Recovery Advisory on converting masonry chimneys to light weight metal flue units to provide homeowners and contractors with the technical information they need to eliminate this problem before the next earthquake strikes," said Mike Mahoney, FEMA Senior Geophysicist. “The basic steps recommended in the Recovery Advisory can make a big difference in protecting your home.”

“Masonry chimneys are extremely vulnerable to damage in earthquakes," said Janiele Maffei, Chief Mitigation Officer for the California Earthquake Authority. “Not only do they experience damage in even moderate levels of shaking, they can often contribute to serious damage to the structure of the house.”

For more information or to browse the FEMA Building Science library, visit fema.gov.

Texas State Collaborative (TSC) Stakeholders Strive for Strong Codes

Some say “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” and with the TSC meeting in Austin the same week as the National Hurricane Conference, they may be right.

The March 31 meeting drew more than 40 stakeholders of the collaborative along with state legislators and legislative staff to Austin, TX, where the agenda included a focus on the Texas built environment. Presentations covered the recent North Texas earthquakes, efforts to license roofers through legislation, building growth trends, and best practices to incorporate resiliency into market-driven consumer education campaigns. 

Paul Martin, NAMIC, commented, "The TSC is an excellent opportunity to educate and cultivate leadership who have an interest in disaster safety."

Meeting attendees participated in a building code enactment exercise, with former NHC Director Bill Read acting as chair of the mock City Commission.

Jeff Feid, State Farm, commented on the exercise as being, "a great opportunity to shape messaging for stronger code adoption."

Ongoing TSC projects include additional Leadership Toolkits and joint training opportunities with code officials in the coming months. See the media coverage here and learn more about the collaborative at texasstatecollaborative.org.

Yuma Shows Up and Shakes Out at QuakeSmart® Events

On March 26 and 27, FLASH and partners presented three QuakeSmart events in Yuma, Arizona, including a QuakeSmart Business Summit, a ShowUp and ShakeOut public event featuring the Quake Cottage earthquake simulator, and an Earthquake Retrofit Training for handymen and women.

The QuakeSmart Summit drew more than 60 attendees, who learned about the earthquake risk in Yuma, and mitigation strategies for those risks. One attendee stated “Working at the Department of Defense, I have many opportunities to attend high-profile emergency conferences but this Summit provided more practical, useful information than any of those other events.”  

After the summit, attendees rode in the Quake Cottage and experienced a simulated large magnitude earthquake at the ShowUp and ShakeOut event where FLASH and partners distributed resources to increase awareness and help families prepare for earthquakes. Organizers also reminded participants to register and participate in the Great Arizona ShakeOut scheduled for October 15 at 10:15 a.m.

The next day, Legacy Partner Simpson Strong-Tie® and Safe-T-Proof™ hosted the Earthquake Retrofit Training Session, which helped local trainees learn mitigation techniques to make homes and businesses QuakeSmart. Participants learned about the QuakeSmart Program and the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.  

To learn more about the QuakeSmart Community Resilience Program and FLASH seismic safety outreach initiatives, visit quakesmartcommunity.org or email Barbara@flash.org.

Storm Shelters and Safe Rooms—Saving Lives One Family at a Time

Congratulations to the Storm Shelter Pilot Program for installing its’ 100th storm shelter!

Thanks to generous support from Lutheran Disaster Response, the storm shelter pilot program matches families in tornado-affected areas with grants, and facilitates the installation of certified storm shelters through the local Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG). Through the initiative, FEMA safe rooms and ICC-500 certified storm shelters have been installed in the greater Oklahoma City area and Louisville, Mississippi. During the pilot phase, the goal is to install more than 150 storm shelters to document best practices on shelter type and cost while integrating with the local LTRG.

Thank you Lutheran Disaster Response, National VOAD Housing Committee and all the other partners for continuing to spread the message that “storm shelters save lives.” Please contact Tim Smail at tim@flash.org to learn more, or if your organization would like to support the program.

Sustainability with a Side of Resilience

The 2015 Greenprints Conference, “Can We Have Sustainability Without Resilience?” set the stage for an interactive meeting on disaster safety where FLASH joined Legacy Partner Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Clemson University to present real-world examples of resilience in action.

Meeting in Atlanta, GA on March 11, conference topics ranged from the recent multi-family building fires in Los Angeles and New Jersey, to the harrowing tornadoes in Moore, OK, workshop attendees were presented with compelling information on resilient building materials and stronger building codes. The session concluded with workshop attendees participating in a mock town hall meeting attempting to pass ordinances to make their community more resilient. The mock ordinances passed by a vote of 2-1.

One workshop attendee stated "Through an interactive discussion, this session explored the complex issues surrounding the risky state of our current infrastructure.” Southface Commercial Sustainability Services Project Engineer, Abby Francisco went on to say “Various perspectives given during a mock-town hall meeting highlighted how stakeholder engagement is key to implementing resilient solutions for a more sustainable society.”