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Tornado Safe Rooms Take 2015 International Builder’s Show by Storm

On January 20-22, FLASH teamed up with Legacy Partners FEMA, Portland Cement Association (PCA), Simpson Strong-Tie, as well as National Partners National StormShelter Association and Survive-A-Storm, at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas for an unprecedented exhibit entitled, “Home Safe Home”. The exhibit showcased safe room options while sharing three messages—safe rooms save lives; safe rooms are affordable; and safe rooms are a win for builders and families alike.

PCA Chief Economist Edward J. Sullivan led the opening news conference with his highly-anticipated residential housing forecast that shows a concentration of housing starts within the traditional high wind areas of the U.S. Next, FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson presented analysis of data provided by Legacy Partner National Weather Service/NOAA Storm Prediction Center indicating that nine of ten continental U.S. counties experienced tornado watches from 2003 through 2014 for an average of 27 hours per year. Senior Civil Engineer Bob Franke of FEMA explained the new update to FEMA 320 Technical Guidance and the importance of compliant construction.

The information pointed up a convergence of market opportunity with enhanced resilience in the face of high wind.

“Tornado safe rooms are an ideal combination of protection for families and a market opportunity for homebuilders--one of our most critical partners in the disaster-resilience movement.” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “In good weather and bad, everyone wins when it comes to tornado safe rooms.”

Learn more about the safe room exhibit by visiting The Wall Street Journal and the Road to Resilience blog.

FLASH Partners Make Winter Trip to the White House

Courtesy of Legacy Partner FEMA, FLASH Directors George Drew of USAA, Arthur Parks of State Farm and Joe Tankersley of Unique Visions joined FLASH staff for a recognition ceremony at the White House on January 28 in support of the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness. The comprehensive strategy outlines a path to bring children into the disaster safety movement through innovative programs like America’s Preparathon; the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project; Save the Children’s Youth PrepRallies and more.

FLASH joined the first wave of 49 “Affirmers” of the Strategy in September of 2014 during National Preparedness Month and supports implementation through partnerships with other likeminded organizations. Contact Leslie Chapman-Henderson to learn more and join this exciting effort today.

New Residential Building Code Course Goes to College

SVP of Engineering and Technical Programs Tim Smail can now add the title of Adjunct Professor at Clemson University where he is teaching a class on residential building codes. FLASH created the online course through partnership with FEMA, and it is now available at Clemson University as a Creative Inquiry class through the Civil Engineering Department.

“The course is a wonderful and unique opportunity to connect real-world applications and academic learning,” said Dr. Leidy Klotz Professor of Civil Engineering. “This is invaluable for our students, especially in this case because they get to interact with so many practitioners at the forefront of their fields.”

With additional schools offering the course soon, FLASH is seeking partners to participate in the course as guest lecturers either in-person or via webinar. If you are interested in sharing your resilience insights with future architects, builders or engineers, contact Tim Smail to secure your slot today.

New Video Talks Texans Through State Collaborative Website

FLASH has enhanced the Texas State Collaborative (TSC)  with a new video highlighting the rich online resources and goals of the coalition. The video features former CNN Bureau Chief and FLASH special correspondent John Zarrella who walks viewers through the resources and offers step-by-step instructions on how to use the Texas Leadership Toolkits. Ten toolkits are now available online with hyperlocal weather and building code analyses broken down to highlight community resilience strengths and weaknesses.

The next meeting of the Collaborative is set for Tuesday, March 31 in conjunction with the National Hurricane Conference in Austin. For more information on how to join the TSC, email Barbara Harrison.

Storm Shelter Pilot: Making Families Safer One Storm Shelter at a Time

The Storm Shelter Pilot Program offered by FLASH and the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is off to a successful start. The program matches families in tornado-affected areas with grants and facilitates the installation of certified storm shelters through local Long Term Recovery Groups (LTRG). 

The National VOAD Housing Committee members, especially the Lutheran Disaster Response, provide generous funding for the pilot, and FLASH implements the program on behalf of Lutheran Disaster Response, and the Housing Committee.

So far, 51 National Storm Shelter Association certified storm shelters have been installed in the Oklahoma City area and four have been completed in Louisville, Mississippi. The goal is to install 150 storm shelters to document best practices on shelter type and cost while integrating with the local LTRG’s. 

Please contact Tim Smail to learn more or if your organization would like to support program.

Third QuakeSmart Summit Set for Gateway City of St. Louis

The third in a series of QuakeSmart Summits will be held in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, February 6—the eve of the 203rd anniversary of the February 7, 1812 New Madrid earthquake. More than 150 businesses have participated in two prior summits in Riverside and San Mateo, California, and registration for this event at Saint Louis University is nearly at maximum capacity.

Featured speakers will include Missouri State Emergency Agency (SEMA) director Ron Walker; FEMA Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman; St Louis Emergency Management Agency Commissioner Gary Christmann; Missouri Seismic Safety Commission (MSSC) Chairman Eric Sandvol; USGS geophysicist Rob Williams; as well as experts in business continuity, structural engineering, and earthquake mitigation and retrofitting.

Summit sponsors include Legacy Partners FEMA and Simpson Strong-Tie; BOMA St. Louis; the Central US Earthquake Consortium; SEMA; MSSC; USGS; CCS Group, Inc.; Engineering Systems Inc.; and WorkSafe Technologies. For more information or to register, visit quakesmartcommunity.org or email Barbara Harrison.