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Corporate Board Gathers for Mid-Summer Meeting

The FLASH Corporate Board of Directors, advisors, and special guests met in Orlando July 26–28 to focus on partnerships, collaboration, team recognition, and the 2016/2017 project calendar. While the group examined strategic plan areas of Leadership, Partnership, Outreach, and Education, they also covered building codes, digital presence, the #HurricaneStrong Home demonstration, and a new ReadyBusiness Program.

Recognition for the team, its partners, and their award-winning projects was at the top of the agenda as FLASH said goodbye to a longtime teammate, celebrated a career milestone for a Leadership Partner, and marked the end of the award-winning project, StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes. The meeting concluded with a brainstorming session focused on the 2017 Annual Conference and the expansion of successful 2016 outreach initiatives.

FLASH Board Salutes Jim Cantore for Three Decades of Dedication

Since 1986, FLASH Leadership Partner Jim Cantore has served the American public as a preeminent broadcast meteorologist at The Weather Channel. As a result, Jim is beloved worldwide where his audiences depend on his expertise, witness his commitment to weather safety, and enjoy his passion for helping people. For the past 18 years, Jim has partnered with FLASH to strengthen homes and safeguard families from disaster. His contributions have been invaluable. During the summer meeting, the FLASH Board of Directors signed a commemorative poster of appreciation for Jim, and joined the thousands who are sending tributes his way.

If you would like to help Jim celebrate this career milestone, you can post on social media with the hashtag #Cantore30, or register at weloveweather.tv to learn more.

StormStruck Sponsors Saluted as Landmark Project Concludes

On July 27, Directors Arthur Parks of State Farm and Phil Burton of Simpson Strong-Tie were honored by their fellow board members for sponsoring StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes for eight years. The presentation took place at Epcot®, and a board delegation enjoyed the edu-tainment experience for the last time ahead of the closing in the fall. FLASH would also like to thank and recognize former Legacy Partner RenaissanceRe for their role as a sponsor and supporter of many years.

StormStruck is a signature outreach project for FLASH, and has garnered high guest attendance, international recognition, and academically-validated message success since its opening in 2008. StormStruck project success grew from a strong alliance between Disney and the FLASH Partnership, and visioning is now underway for the next exciting collaboration between the organizations.

Longtime Team Member Moves Forward

On July 26, Erika Peterman of BASF Corporation and FLASH President/CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson presented FLASH Consultant Bruce McCullen with a plaque in recognition of his seven years of extraordinary service to the FLASH Partnership and disaster safety movement. While on the team, Bruce worked closely on many successful initiatives, including Babcock Ranch, Building Safety Month, Disaster Durable Solutions at BASF, and much more.

Bruce is a true professional, and he will be greatly missed. We wish him the very best of luck in the next exciting chapter of his career.

Legacy Partner Spotlight - Mark Justman of PCA

With more than 26 years at Portland Cement Association (PCA), Mark Justman is no stranger to sustainability development and research. And, as a result, his market development and research expertise is making a difference. 

In a recent interview with FLASH, Justman zeroed in on the centrality of disaster mitigation and management for true sustainability. “Buildings should have potential for future use and re-use and have a long service life with low maintenance costs. They should be designed to sustain minimal damage due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, and fire,” Justman stated. “Concrete provides superior resistance to damage, reduces the overall loss of life and cost of repair to structures, and ensures that critical services like roads, hospitals, communications, data transmission, and emergency services remain in operation.”

Citing concrete as “the one material you want between you and disaster,” Justman highlighted the unsurpassed sense of safety and security concrete provides, pointing out that concrete offers “exceptional protection from high winds and flying debris, is non-combustible, and can be used to build homes, safe rooms, and storm shelters.”

When he learned from PCA’s Codes & Standards department about FLASH’s commitment to better building codes and practices, he felt an immediate affinity for FLASH. “As we see more property damage and destruction attributed to extreme weather...we need to help both builders and consumers better understand how more resilient structures can enhance their lives and their communities,” he said. “That’s where organizations like FLASH help most.” 

PCA’s market development team is now working with a consortium of dedicated groups to help Diane Hellriegel return to her Breezy Point residence destroyed in Superstorm Sandy. Not only was her community hit hard by the storm, an electrical fire followed that laid waste to over 125 homes. “We have a great opportunity to help Diane return to her community, and to showcase resilient building materials,” Justman said.

Mark and FLASH partners that Hellriegel’s home will inspire other homebuilders to build for resilience. Applauding community leaders who are waking up to the long term advantages of stronger codes and better buildings, Justman exhorted homeowners “to ask the tough questions of whether or not their home can withstand the storms that lie ahead.”

Noting the non-combustible concrete walls and floors, the impact and fire resistant, cement-based finishes, and the FEMA coastal-compliant features of her new home-to-be, Diane Hellriegel recently stated the obvious: “If another Sandy comes, it’ll be the only house standing.”

Texas State Collaborative to Gather in Austin

The next meeting of the Texas State Collaborative is now set for August 16 at the Capitol Annex in Austin. Strategies to Build Texas Resiliency has a dynamic agenda that includes updates on damage trends as well as policy best practices for advancing disaster resiliency in Texas.

Featured presenters will include former National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read on recent devastating Texas flood events; FEMA flood expert John Ingargiola on advances in flood mitigation, building codes, and standards; National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Mark Fox on the North Texas tornado outbreaks; renowned tornado-chaser Tim Marshall P.E. from Haag Engineering on Dallas damage observations; and Dr. John van de Lindt of the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning at Colorado State University on new high-wind building science.

FLASH will share updates from the TSC building code analysis project, and TSC members from the advocacy community will give regulatory and legislative perspectives on code adoption and enforcement.

If you would like to attend this meeting, please register here. For more information, contact Barbara Harrison

ReadyBusiness Workshop Slated for the Lower Rio Grande Valley

FEMA Region XI, the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council in Weslaco, Texas and FLASH will welcome businesses and organizations to the area’s first ReadyBusiness workshop Wednesday, August 17.

With a focus on the new Inland Flooding ReadyBusiness Toolkit, workshop participants will learn to identify their risks, develop a plan, and take action to mitigate potential impacts. The daylong workshop delivers modules focused on Staff, Surroundings, Space, Systems, Structure, and Service. The ReadyBusiness workshop is free, but registration is required. Please click here to register, or contact Tim Smail for more information.

Additional ReadyBusiness workshops will be offered this year in other locations, and the next one is slated for September 20 in Atlanta. If you are interested in this or any other events, email flash@flash.org to join the update list.

Tampa's Morning Blend Puts Flood Insurance in the Mix

On July 26, FLASH teamed up with FloodSmart to remind families of the importance of flood insurance as peak hurricane season approaches. As part of the effort, Leslie Chapman-Henderson appeared on the WFTS/ABC -Tampa Bay show, Morning Blend.

“This television appearance gave us the opportunity to reach more than 600,00 households with critical information about flood insurance and flood mitigation," said Chapman-Henderson. "We know that approximately 350,000 families in the Tampa Bay area already have flood policies, but we want to see that number go up. Flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period, and is not covered in regular property insurance, so it is imperative homeowners act now before severe weather strikes.”

Visit FloodSmart.gov to learn more information.

Enhancements Now Part of the FEMA App

On July 15, FEMA released an update to their free mobile app which improves this already valuable tool for families, emergency managers and the general public. According to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, “Emergency responders and disaster survivors are increasingly turning to mobile devices to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. This new [weather alert] feature empowers individuals to assist and support family and friends before, during, and after a severe weather event.”

The new version includes emergency alerting and also preserves past features which include customizable checklists for emergency supplies, maps for shelters and disaster recovery centers, and tips on how to survive disaster. The new app allows users to upload and share damage and recovery efforts, apply for federal disaster assistance, and switch to Spanish language functionality.

The app is available in the Apple store and Google Play. If you already have it, be sure to secure the update, and activate the weather alerts feature. For more information, visit www.fema.gov/mobile-app or watch the video here. Haga clic aquí para la versión española.

International Code Council to Sponsor 2017 Annual Conference

The next gathering of the FLASH Partnership is set for October 27–29, 2017 in Atlanta with Legacy Partner International Code Council serving as a Silver Sponsor.

“We are providing greatly expanded sponsorship and branding opportunities in next year’s annual conference, and we are very excited to have ICC on board,” said FLASH Project Manager Barbara Harrison.

Planning is now underway for this exciting event, and a call for presentations will be issued shortly. Sponsorship opportunities are available here. As always, a class of resilience graduate scholarship winners will attend and share their research. Please contact Tim Smail for more information.