Volume 22 | October 14, 2020
The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters.

The Latest from FLASH
Message from the President and CEO
On behalf of our board of directors, team, and partners, I hope that this finds you safe and well during this difficult time for our nation. This year continues to present extraordinary challenges. However, we remain inspired by your dedication to our shared mission. We applaud your spirit and the many creative ways that you are transcending current conditions to advance disaster safety and resilience in the face of another record-breaking hurricane season, deadly wildfires, and the ongoing public health crisis of COVID-19.

As you likely know, we had hoped to offer the 2020 National Disaster Resilience Conference (NDRC) in our traditional, in-person format. Unfortunately, we have determined that we cannot proceed as we have in the past. That said, we plan to transcend this challenge by offering a meaningful, streamlined, virtual way for our partners, longstanding NDRC attendees, and future partners to come together in a way that inspires us in the NDRC tradition. 

We are in the design phase for a shortened meeting, and we would like your help to ensure we provide a valuable experience. Most of us have participated in different types of digital gatherings by now. We’ve Zoomed, Teamed, WebEx’d, and experienced everything from Google Hangouts and Facebook Live to Blue Jeans. Our December event will come to you via one of those methods, but we need your help in prioritizing duration, format, topics, and the degree of interactivity. 

Please take a moment and send your insights and suggestions to info@flash.org. We welcome your input on a program format, duration, level of interactivity, spotlight speakers, topics, and more.

Please mark your calendars for Thursday, December 3, and thank you in advance for your feedback. 
 NDRC 2019
FEMA's John Ingargiola
FLASH Board of Directors
FLASH and Legacy Partner ISO to Address BuildStrong Coalition
Please join the BuildStrong Coalition on Thursday, October 22 at 2:00 PM ET, as they host a webinar focused on the two specific criteria that are key to developing highly competitive applications for FEMA’s new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant Program: (1) Mandatory adoption of building codes and (2) Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) Rating of 1 to 5.  

This discussion will highlight:
  • BCEGS and how BCEGS scores interrelate to the adoption and enforcement of strong codes.
  • The key elements of a community with a BCEGS score between 1-5.
  •  How to position your community to succeed with BRIC applications by leveraging the BCEGS and Model Building Codes criteria.
  • Capitalizing on key community partners to help drive resilience, particularly for residential structures.
  • The benefits of achieving resilience for the entire community. 
 
A panel of industry experts will share the latest information on providing the tools and knowledge to build a strong BRIC application. Speakers include:
 
  • Dale Thomure, Hazard Mitigation Manager, ISO
  • Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO, FLASH
  • Additional Mitigation and Resilience Industry Leaders to be announced!
 
To attend the webinar, RSVP to info@buildstrongamerica.com. The virtual event is free to attend upon registration. All registered attendees will be provided a virtual meeting link in advance of the event. Registration is limited, but we will be making the full webinar available on our website following the event.
 
Event Details:

When: Thursday, October 22, 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET

Where: Virtual event link provided to all registered attendees in advance of the event

New Podcast: Ready, Set, ShakeOut!
When there's a fire, you likely know to Stop, Drop, and Roll, but do you know how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On when an earthquake occurs? Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes do not have seasons. They can strike without warning, so it is essential to know how to protect yourself, your family, and your employees. That's where the Great ShakeOut comes in.

The latest Strong Homes, Safe Families! guest is Mark Benthien, Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and global ShakeOut advisor. Mark shares the straight story on how to prepare for earthquakes, how to reduce losses, and how to host or participate in a ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on October 15.
Topics Include:
 
  • Educational Background: Passion for helping the public prepare for an earthquake (0:52-3:18)
  • SCEC Outreach: Public programs and internship opportunities for the next generation (3:21-4:31)
  • History: The Earthquake Country Alliance and collaboration (4:31-6:32)
  • ShakeOut: Scenario-based exercises/drills help emergency management, public prepare (6:32-8:11)
  • Social Science ShakeOut: What motivates people to take action? (10:21-12:15)
  • Fact vs. Fiction: Knowing how today's myth can be yesterday's advice (13:52-16:52)
  • Drill: Conduct ShakeOut Earthquake Drills differently for all situations (home, work, school) (17:50-25:22)
  • The Future: International ShakeOut direction (26:19-28:39)

Click here to listen to the latest Strong Homes, Safe Families! podcast episode, and don't forget to subscribe, rate, share and provide a review on iTunes. Read More >
FLASH Featured in the National Spotlight
As Hurricanes Laura and Sally were approaching the Gulf Coast States, the national media turned to the FLASH Partnership as a trusted source for disaster safety information.

Fox News featured FLASH President and CEO Leslie-Chapman Henderson on Fox and Friends as Hurricane Laura was approaching. Leslie shared affordable, DIY ways to protect your home from high winds. MSN, Yahoo Entertainment, and Yahoo UK News also picked up the story. Additionally, The New York Times quoted Leslie in the story American’s Back Tough Limits on Building in Fire and Flood Zones.

#HurricaneStrong Community Designations Expand
This year continues to present challenges, but it hasn’t stopped the City of Cape Coral, FL and the Town of Hilton Head Island, SC from receiving #HurricaneStrong Community Designations.
 
The FLASH Partnership chose these communities for their excellence in resilience leadership, the ISO Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) score, a class five rating from the Community Rating System (CRS) for floodplain management, year-round hurricane preparedness, community outreach, and education, and establishment as NOAA StormReady® Community.
 
“The City of Cape Coral is committed to continually improving our preparedness and resiliency to hurricanes,” said Fire Chief Ryan W. Lamb. “It is a great honor to be recognized for this commitment with the #HurricaneStrong designation.”
 
“The Town strives to have an all-hazards emergency management program and partner with organizations that promote disaster preparedness and safety like FLASH,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Dunn. “The #HurricaneStrong designation demonstrates our commitment to hurricane planning, preparedness, education, and response." Read More >
Building Codes and Resilience Featured at NAIC Summer Meeting
On August 12, FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson served as a featured presenter on the Hurricane Science and Resilience panel alongside National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Summer Meeting.
 
Leslie’s presentation Driving Public Support for Resilience Through Research-Informed Messaging, reviewed the national strategy to promote and advance building codes. Director Graham covered hurricane forecasting and risk perception.

For more information on the NAIC Fall Virtual Meeting December 3-9, click here.
Mark Your Calendars
Partner Spotlight
Andy Green, Founder & CEO at ACME AtronOmatic, LLC
In 2000, Andy formed an Internet-based aviation information services company, which eventually evolved into a more generic software and services company that is today known as ACME AtronOmatic. The most popular product is MyRadar, a popular mobile weather radar app for iOS, Android, Windows and Xbox. With over 50 million downloads since its inception, the popularity and success of the app has allowed for innovative and exciting features you might not expect in an ordinary weather app. MyRadar is the highest rated app in the top 10 of the Weather categories on iOS.

Q: How did you get interested in disaster safety?

A: As we initially developed MyRadar, we were focused on delivering a fast, easy-to-use app that would display the radar for the user’s area and for the rest of the world. As the app took off, we realized there were other related facets to environment conditions that equally effect users in a devastating way, including wildfires and earthquakes. When you combine these natural disasters with the weather-related catastrophes, such as tornados, hurricanes, and flooding, we began to realize that we had an opportunity to help users avoid or otherwise deal with these natural disasters, either in the form of advanced alerting or with post-event situational awareness and preparedness. It was a natural progression for us to continue to help users beyond just the radar of the event; we knew we could make use of our app and services to help people. Read More >
Partner News
Hurricane Laura

Public Survey: Were you impacted by Hurricane Laura? Emergency Management & Public Health Officials need to learn more about your decision to evacuate or not, and your experiences.

Please visit the following link to complete this 10 minute survey (here).

Si desea continuar esta encuesta en español por favor oprima (aquí).

Study funded by National Science Foundation.
StEER Offers Preliminary Hurricane Laura Report

This report will serve as StEER’s primary product documenting this unique response to Hurricane Laura, combining elements of StEER’s standard Preliminary Virtual Reconnaissance Report and Early Access Reconnaissance Report in to a single joint PVRR-EARR, that:
(1) provides an overview of the Hurricane Laura, particularly relating to its wind field and storm surge impacts on the built environment
(2) documents the joint effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Laura on affected populations and emergency management
(3) overviews the regulatory environment and construction practices in the affected area. Read More >
Cement Producers Target Carbon Footprint with Portland-Limestone Cement

The Portland Cement Association (PCA), representing America’s Cement Manufacturers, launched a new promotion initiative today emphasizing the sustainable benefits of portland-limestone cement (PLC). PLC, engineered with more limestone, performs comparably to Type I portland cement with up to 10% less greenhouse gas emissions.

The recently launched microsite, focused on the product, features case studies, applications, frequently asked questions and the status of acceptance in the United States and around the world. Read More >
Keep Yourself and Your Property Safe from Wildfire

Part of a mandatory evacuation?
  • Safety first: Material things can be replaced but the loss of life or serious injury can’t be fixed.
  • Stay tuned: Follow news reports and information from first responders.
  • Keep living expenses receipts: They may be reimbursable after meeting your deductible.
  • What to expect from the claims process: We will work with you closely to resolve your claim. Read More >
Simpson Strong-Tie Redirects over $75,000 in Habitat for Humanity Funding To Organization's COVID- 19 Relief Efforts

Simpson Strong-Tie, the leader in engineered structural connectors and building solutions, announced that it is redirecting funding from its current projects with Habitat for Humanity to the organization’s Homes, Communities, Hope + You (HCH+Y) campaign for a total of more than $75,000 in cash and product. Habitat’s HCH+Y is helping families who’ve been hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19 by providing funds and resources for covering costs of housing and other basic necessities. Read More >
FEMA Announces Funding Opportunities for $660 Million in Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

FEMA posted funding notices today for two hazard mitigation grant programs for more than $660 million. 

The two grant programs, the Flood Mitigation Assistance grant and the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, will provide funds to states, local communities, tribes and territories for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation’s ability to build a culture of preparedness. These programs allow for funding to be used on projects that will reduce future disaster losses.

The funding notices are available on Grants.gov, and the application period opens on Sept. 30. Read More >
IBHS releases hurricane preparedness guide for small businesses

Even before the pandemic, one in four small businesses won’t reopen after a natural disaster. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) wants to help small businesses overcome the odds. With the peak of hurricane season just around the corner, IBHS has released a new Commercial Ready: Hurricane guide as a resource to help small business owners and commercial building owners prepare for hurricane season.
Hurricane Sally

Public Survey: Were you impacted by Hurricane Sally? Emergency Management & Public Health Officials need to learn more about your decision to evacuate or not, and your experiences. 

Please visit the following link to complete this 10 minute survey (here).

Si desea continuar esta encuesta en español por favor oprima (aquí).

Study funded by National Science Foundation.
Simpson Strong-Tie Donates $25,000 to American Red Cross to Support Fire Relief and Recovery Efforts in California

As fires continue to rage across the state of California, Simpson Strong-Tie, the leader in engineered structural connectors and building solutions, announced it has made a $25,000 donation to the American Red Cross to assist in relief response and recovery efforts throughout the region.
According to the state’s firefighting agency, Cal Fire, over a million acres of land have burned since August 15. The LNU and SCU Lightning Complex fires have become the second- and third-largest fires in state history. More than 14,000 firefighters, with more enlisted from out of state, have been battling the blazes which have thus far left seven people dead and more injured. Approximately 100,000 people have been displaced. Read More >
Lowe’s Distributes Over 3,500 Buckets of Supplies in Wake of Hurricane Laura

In response to Hurricane Laura, seven Lowe’s stores in the most impacted areas hosted drive-through bucket brigade events this week, donating supplies to residents who are continuing to endure the effects of the storm as they begin to rebuild.

“It’s been devastating,” said local resident Bruce Wilson, who picked up supplies at the Leesville, Louisiana location on Friday. “My family and I have been displaced. We’ve had to allocate water and food for the last week and a half. My house is uninhabitable right now, and we’re helping another family whose house was completely destroyed. It’s 95 degrees and we have no power, so we had to go find a hotel. Read More >
International building code development/ research organizations agree to cooperate on enhancing resilience through codes

The Australian Building Codes Board, the National Research Council of Canada, New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and International Code Council today publicly released the statement of outcomes that emerged from the recently-launched global initiative on building resilience. While the world – including the building safety community – continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is recognition that risks to buildings and communities caused by increasingly intense severe weather events do not disappear and must continue to be addressed. Read More >
AIR Worldwide Releases Updated Tropical Cyclone and Earthquake Models for the Caribbean

Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide (AIR) announced the release of its updated Tropical Cyclone and Earthquake Models for the Caribbean. These models will provide insurers and reinsurers with a comprehensive view of risk across 29 countries and territories in the region. AIR Worldwide is a Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK) business. Read More >
RNPN "Alliances for Equity" 2020 Virtual Forum

Join both FEMA and NOAA as we discuss current efforts to adopt equitable practices across the field of resilience.

This virtual forum will be hosted every Wednesday in October from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT:

  • Wednesday, October 21 – “Planning for an Equitable Future”
  • Wednesday, October 28 – “Building a Foundation for Action”

Click here to register, and click here for the agenda.
AMS Webinar: Artificial Intelligence and MachineLearning - The Value
Chain in Data Services

Join the Committee on Open Environmental Information Services and the Committee on Artificial Intelligence Applications to Environmental Science for a free webinar on Monday, October 19 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Click here to register for free.
Integrating Climate Risk Into Planning/Design Course Available
The stakes have never been higher. Climate change is responsible for an unprecedented number of natural disasters and health impacts each year, and that number is growing. As the earth’s temperature increases, so do damages to the world’s economy. Meanwhile, current carbon emissions suggest that RCP 8.5, the most aggressive scenario identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is the best alignment out to 2050. That timeframe is shorter than the service life of most projects in design today.
 
Join leading climate scientists and adaptation experts for a deep dive into the latest climate science, how it applies to the built environment, and what we need to do differently. You’ll learn:

  •  the risks and the data behind them
  • how to plan and design with the best available climate science
  • the best resources and tools to use and why
  •  how to build in adaptive capacity
  • cost and service life considerations

This important course is for anyone who works in the building industry: Architects, public officials, building product manufacturers, property owners, design professionals, developers, and more

Date: October 23, 2020 at 12pm EDT
How: Click here to register.
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