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Volume 19, Issue 11, December 2017
Month in Review
Jose, Roberto Alsina, Ed Laatsch, Stuart Adams, Mike Rimoldi, Julie Grauer
FLASH Joins FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team in Puerto Rico

FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) Building Codes, Standards and Regulations Team hit the ground running in Puerto Rico December 5-9 as one of three MAT Teams to survey the United States Territory. Team members included STARR II Program Manager Stuart Adams, who serves as program area manager to the FEMA Building Science Branch, FEMA Safety, Planning & Building Science Division Director Edward M. Laatsch, P.E., FEMA Program Analyst, Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration Julie Grauer, and FLASH Senior Vice President Michael Rimoldi. Adams served as the Team Leader.

During four days of assessments, the team achieved two major objectives. The first was to meet with municipalities to determine strengths and weaknesses of their permitting process and hear first-hand, how local officials felt the system worked, especially in a post-hurricane scenario. The second arm of the field operations included site visits to assess the damage. The observations are crucial to help understand how buildings withstand severe forces of a hurricane, including wind, rain, and storm surge in coastal settings. Read more >
FLASH CEO Addresses Resiliency at IAEM Conference

FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson served as a keynote speaker at the 65th International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Conference held in November in Long Beach, CA. Her presentation, "The Disaster Safety Movement Twenty Years Later-The Road to a Resilient Future," explained the importance of building resilient structures and provided attendees with concepts they could use in their communities.

"As we continue to endure this record-shattering year of destructive disasters, it is critical we stay focused on how to increase resilience through proven and new means of driving good decision-making and application of sound science," said Leslie. "IAEM is a first-rate organization, and coming together with our emergency management partners is like working with the home team. We have a long road to recovery ahead, and it is essential that we integrate future resilience, including modern building codes, each step of the way."  Read more >
Experts Head West to Update Seismic Building Codes

In the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco served as the venue for academics, architects, building code professionals, engineers, and geophysicists who gathered to discuss seismic updates to the latest International Code Council model codes. Like all codes, seismic provisions must be updated continuously to stay current with the latest advancements in science and engineering. The ever-present threat of earthquake activity throughout California and many other regions across the United States makes this work a top priority.

Meeting participants discussed structural safety, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as building components during their review. The group began the process to determine which elements of the code will require updating during the upcoming code cycle. As code development process requires more than just one meeting, this was the first step to identify seismic-related adoptions that may be included in the revision process. Read more >
FEMA and FLASH Partner with Wyoming Leaders for Earthquake Tabletop

State and local officials from across Wyoming met on November 2 to conduct a tabletop exercise and help leaders prepare for earthquakes. Afton, a small western Wyoming town near the Idaho border, served as the site for the meeting as it is a potential hotspot for geologic activity.

Twenty-four participants, from law enforcement officials to faith-based organizational representatives, spent the day conducting a mock exercise of a seismic event occurring in the region and discussed the appropriate response in detail. The agenda included first responder emergency services and how the public would commute should primary transportation routes be closed following an earthquake. Participants developed plans for backup lines of communication. All benefited from the modeled scenario as well as the networking with new and existing colleagues. Read more >
County Retreat Focuses on Resilience

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Leon County commissioners met Monday for a day of progress reports and agenda setting for the new year.

The county held its annual retreat at the Goodwood Conference Center. This year's theme was "building resilience to serve and strengthen our community."

"We've been through a couple of hurricanes this past year and resilience is what we do before we actually get to those points," said county Chairman Nick Maddox. "It just helps us to take one more step forward in making our citizens feel safe."

Over the last year, the county took big steps to improve hurricane response and preparedness. Read more >
Partner Spotlight
Thomas Woods, Leslie Chapman-Henderson
Partner Spotlight - Thomas Woods

Thomas Woods, a member of the FLASH Board of Directors, is the 2017 Board Member of the Year. He is the Assistant Vice President of Property Underwriting and Loss Prevention and Safety in P&C Property Insurance Experience for USAA, a FLASH Legacy Partner. Woods has professional experience in leadership, operations, business development, project/process management, portfolio management, and product management. He serves on the Executive Committee for FLASH and the BuildStrong Coalition.
FLASH: What is your background or education and how did you get interested in disaster safety?
Woods:  I have worked for USAA for more than 30 years and am presently responsible for Property Underwriting and Loss Prevention and Safety. Our mission at USAA is to protect the financial security or our members. What better way to do that than to protect them from a significant loss! I have a bachelor's degree in marketing, a master's in organizational leadership, and a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

Partner News
We Love Weather Hosts Forecasting Hope Charity Auction

The Weather Channel raised more than $66,000 during Forecasting Hope , a charitable campaign designed to help communities in need. Proceeds from the auction will go to organizations that help communities impacted by destructive events, including American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, Save The Children, Greater Houston Community Foundation, Bridge to Hope (FL), Hispanic Federation, and United Way Bay Area.
Collaboration Opportunities and Upcoming Events
Nominations Close on January 5 for National Weatherperson of the Year
Don't miss your chance to nominate a deserving candidate for the FLASH 2018 National Weatherperson of the Year. Qualified nominees must include either practicing or former meteorologists or weatherpersons, and all nominations should be submitted prior to January 5, 2018.

Nominators should complete the brief form and highlight how the nominee has leveraged his/her expertise and role to help save lives and protect property through accurate disaster safety messaging, targeted programs, or other public outreach initiatives. Read more >
NDRC 2018 Call for Presentations to Open January 16

If you have expertise in the latest science, policy, and practices that drive more resilient buildings and create disaster-resilient communities in the face of natural and human-caused disasters, FLASH invites you to submit a presentation for the 2018 National Disaster Resilience Conference (NDRC) November 7-9 in Clearwater Beach, FL.

Registration is now open, and sponsorship opportunities are now available now to spotlight your business and allow you to network with leaders in the disaster safety and resilience movement . Conference attendees will include design professionals, emergency managers, financial services experts, futurists, housing experts, insurers, journalists, meteorologists, product manufacturers, risk communicators, scientists, social psychologists, and many others.  Read more >
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