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Hurricane Awareness Doubleheader Brings FLASH and Legacy Partners Together

FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson joined FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb, U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz, and Florida Director of Emergency Management Bryan Koon at the National Hurricane Center on June 1 for a news conference marking the beginning of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. During the news conference, Leslie introduced the updated edition of If Disaster Strikes Will You Be Covered? A Homeowner's Insurance Guide to Natural Disasters.

"The way we communicate has changed a great deal in the 17 years since we first partnered with these leaders to bring critical information to families in harm’s way,” said Leslie. “But what has not changed is that the only path to peace of mind in a disaster is physical safety, home protection, and financial security.” 

Today's gathering followed the NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour (HAT) from May 3-8 aboard the Air Force C-130 and NOAA G-IV “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft which touched down in Halifax, NS; Atlantic City, NJ; Norfolk, VA; Myrtle Beach, SC; St. Augustine, FL; and Marathon, FL. FLASH SVP Tim Smail joined the tour as a presenter again this year which brought news media, local officials, and several thousand schoolchildren.

"The 2015 NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour was a major success, and FLASH's participation was a large part of getting the students excited about hurricane preparedness," said National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb. "FLASH's continued support of National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service initiatives and outreach activities assists us in getting out timely and accurate information on hurricane preparedness. I look forward to working with FLASH on the 2016 HAT preparations and outreach."

State Earthquake Managers and Partners Come Together in Charleston

On May 5-8, the 2015 National Earthquake Program Managers met in Charleston, SC with state earthquake managers from across the country and U.S. territories. The gathering brought together National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) partners including the Applied Technology Council, Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, FEMA, FLASH, Northeast States Emergency Consortium, Outreach Process Partners, and Western States Seismic Policy Council to share ideas and best practices.

While there, FLASH Project Manager Barbara Harrison highlighted the QuakeSmart Community Resilience Program, QuakeSmart Mitigation Inspection Program, and the Virginia Earthquake-High Wind Mitigation video project. Additional presentations included an overview of the NEHRP program from Director Jack Hayes and a report on the NAPA earthquake from the California Office of Emergency Services by Kate Long and Jodi Traversaro.

During the week, Dr. Steve Jaumé, College of Charleston, led attendees on a field tour to see remnants of the 1886, 7.3 magnitude earthquake—one of the largest earthquakes on record in the United States. The damage served as a reminder that earthquakes occur outside widely known seismic risk areas of the U.S.

Mayors Gather to Roundtable on Resilience

FLASH joined the Florida League of Mayors on May 15 for the first-ever Florida Resilience Symposium. The roundtable connected community leaders with disaster resilience movement experts, and provided the Mayors with the tools and information to make their cities more resilient when confronting natural disasters.

The symposium featured many FLASH Legacy Partners, including BASF, Kohler, Portland Cement Association, and Simpson Strong-Tie. The Resilient Infrastructure: Emerging Innovation and Opportunities panel, moderated by Bruce McCullen, BASF consultant, and Donn Thompson, PCA Director of Market Development, focused on cost vs. durability, building codes, and innovative solutions through chemistry.

“I was impressed by all that was accomplished during the event.  It was truly energizing to see such a dynamic and diverse group of caring community and disaster safety leaders exchange expertise on their concerns and solutions”, said Melanie Tydrich, Kohler, Co. “This will undoubtedly result in greater resiliency for all of the represented communities.”

Legacy Partner State Farm Welcomes Mayors To StormStruck

FLASH Board Member and State Farm Director of P&C Underwriting Arthur Parks welcomed the Florida League of Mayors into The StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes exhibit in Epcot. 

The event served as a kickoff for the Florida Resilience Symposium, and raised awareness of disaster safety and resilience by introducing the Mayors to the power of edu-tainment in StormStruck.

Arthur Parks welcomed the group and noted, "We could not be more proud of what we’ve accomplished here with our fellow project partners from FLASH, Simpson Strong-Tie, and, of course, Walt Disney World." 

StormStruck.org Gets a New Look

The new StormStruck.org website is now live with interactive features tailored for a younger audience, with one click, they can:

The site includes an animated homepage, and offers a new teacher resource guide for middle school students with hurricane meteorology, preparedness and home mitigation activities.

FLASH, the University of Florida Hurricane Hazard Immersion Program, and the University of Florida Center for Precollegiate Education and Training developed the teacher resources, and several school systems are now using the resources on a countywide basis.

Concrete Professionals Bring Strength to Sustainability

On May 12, Leslie Chapman-Henderson, served as a keynote speaker at the 10th Annual International Concrete Sustainability Conference in Miami, FL. The conference brought together industry professionals to share the latest developments related to design, specifying, manufacturing, testing, construction, maintenance, and research of concrete as a fundamental element of sustainable development. Leslie’s briefing was entitled, “Resilience on the Rise: A Report on the Disaster Safety and Mitigation Movement.”

On May 11, the Women in Concrete Association met in conjunction with the Conference, and featured women leaders from the U.S., Latin America and across the globe who shared best practice diversity programs in the concrete industry.

FLASH Partners Win “Innovative Program of the Year” at National VOAD

FLASH Legacy Partner Portland Cement Association (PCA), the National Storm Shelter Association, and National VOAD members gathered at the 2015 National VOAD Conference to share new ideas and develop whole community solutions for more resilient building.  PCA Director of Market Development, Donn Thom

On May 11 - 15, the 2015 National VOAD Conference awarded FLASH, Legacy Partner Portland Cement Association (PCA), the National Storm Shelter Association, and the VOAD housing committee the Innovative Program of the Year Award for the storm shelter pilot program.

During the year-long pilot, 206 families in the greater Oklahoma City area and 19 families in the Louisville, MS area received tornado storm shelters. “We are honored by this recognition and thankful to the VOAD partners for the opportunity to be a part of this historic initiative,” said Tim Smail. “We are committed to bringing accurate, technical, and reliable guidance to this effort to ensure that when shelters are provided, they deliver on the promise of life safety.”

“We believe this is the first time a National VOAD committee, member, or partner, along with long-term recovery groups and businesses, has come together to provide physical and emotional security to those impacted by a disaster,” said Lutheran Disaster Response Director, Pastor Michael Stadie. “Together we are helping individuals and communities build back stronger and better.”

High School Students Test the Winds

On May 20, Tim Smail served as a judge for the 2015 Wall of Wind Challenge at Florida International University. The Challenge is a community outreach project that tasks South Florida high school students to create innovative hurricane protection systems and deliver a technical paper and presentation. After the presentations, each project is tested in the Wall of Wind.

According Erik Salna, Associate Director of FIU’s International Hurricane Research Center, “The competition has real world applications and benefits society as a whole by developing hurricane mitigation techniques that will lead to human safety, property loss reduction, insurance cost reduction, and a “culture of preparedness” for natural disasters.”

Calling All Presenters - 2016 FLASH Annual Conference – The Next Generation of Resilience

FLASH is seeking dynamic presentation abstracts for the 2016 FLASH Annual Conference - The Next Generation of Resilience, January 27-29, 2016. The Conference brings together subject matter experts from across the disaster safety and mitigation movement, and is recognized as one of the nation’s premier resilience conferences. The Conference program will feature:

  • The Next Generation of Codes/Standards/Policies
  • The Next Generation of Residential Construction
  • The Next Generation of Resilient Communities
  • The Next Generation of Outreach/Education
  • Creating a Disaster Resilient Generation

Visit flashannualconference.org to download the submission form, learn more, and submit an abstract to Tim Smail by Friday, July 31. Selected presenters will be notified by August 30.