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Volume 20, Issue 10, October 2018
Top News 
NDRC18 - Don't Miss Out/Still Time to Register  
There are still seats available for the  National Disaster Resilience Conference  (NDRC18) set for November 7-9 at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, FL.  Register today to reserve your seat to join the nation's foremost voices in the disaster safety and resilience movement to learn, network, and collaborate.
This year's lineup of presenters will include Leslie Chapman-Henderson, FLASH President and CEO; Kenneth Graham, National Hurricane Center Director; Dr. Daniel Kaniewski, Deputy Administrator, Resilience, FEMA; National Weatherperson of the Year Ada Monzón, Meteorologist, CBM - WIPR-TV; Dr. Karthik Ramanathan, Assistant Vice President & Principal Engineer, AIR Worldwide, Research & Modeling; Lt. Col. Kaitlyn Woods, Hurricane Hunter - Chief Meteorologist, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, USAF; Roy E. Wright, President & Chief Executive Officer IBHS; and many more. Read More >
Month in Review
           Chatham County Commission and Guests                               Congressman Buddy Carter                  
Chatham County Named #HurricaneStrong

Chatham County, GA joined Miami-Dade and Leon County, FL as the third in the United States to receive the honorary designation as a  #HurricaneStrong  community. FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson and Founding and Legacy Partner National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Ron Morales presented the designation to members of the Chatham County Commission, Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Director Dennis Jones, Building Safety Director Gregori Anderson, and U.S. Congressman Buddy Carter during the September 21 meeting.

Following the award, Rep. Carter appeared on The Weather Channel's evening program, Weather Underground ( see video ), and noted "This was an opportunity for us to come together as a community and to show that we are prepared, and that we are hurricane strong. Read More >
Sean McGowan
QuakeSmart is "Golden" in Colorado

The FEMA Ready Business - QuakeSmart Workshop  was held on September 19 in Golden, CO on the campus of the 1874 Colorado School of Mines. The pioneering school hosted 40 attendees from local business, agencies, and non-profit organizations who heard from experts on what to expect and how to prepare for earthquake activity.

Experts outlined seismic threats to the area during the workshop. Presenters included Chris Sorenson, Operations Sector Chief, Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Karen Berry, PG, Director and State Geologist Colorado Geological Survey; and Abbie B. Liel, Ph.D, PE, Associate Professor, University of Colorado. 

"Colorado has a long history of earthquakes, including a Magnitude 6.5 near Estes Park back in 1882," said Sean McGowan, PE, Regional Earthquake Program Manager, Building Science Lead, FEMA Region VIII. "However, most Colorado residents are more keenly aware of our more frequent floods and wildfires than they are of our earthquake risk. While we don't have the same earthquake hazard seen on the West Coast, we also don't design our buildings to withstand significant earthquakes here." Read More >
Jae Woodley, Jim Hannon, Mike Rimoldi, 
Sarah Chason
USAA and FLASH Join Forces for National Preparedness Month

On September 25, FLASH joined USAA for their National Preparedness Month Exposition in Colorado Springs. FLASH offered more than 100 USAA employees at the annual event preparedness information on disaster safety, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and winter weather. FLASH team members Sarah Chason and Mike Rimoldi outlined how employees can prepare their families, homes, and USAA members as well.

"We thank the team at FLASH for their ongoing partnership and support of our National Preparedness Month events," said Jim Hannon, Director - Regional Site Management, USAA. "The preparedness information provided to employees is invaluable."
Similar National Preparedness Month events are also taking place at other USAA campuses including San Antonio, TX and Tampa, FL.
Partner Spotlight
Alpa Swinger
Partner Spotlight - Alpa Swinger

Alpa is a longtime FLASH Partner, new FLASH board member, and the Senior Director of Market Development at Portland Cement Association.
Q: What is your background, education, and experience?
I was born and raised in Chicago, IL to parents that emigrated from India. I have a B.S. in Economics from the University of Illinois. I love economics because it is the cost/benefit analysis of everything. I started my career in market research at a consulting firm examining water and wastewater treatment markets. Now I help develop market  strategies speaking to a wide range of end uses for cement and concrete products.
Q: How did you get interested in resilient building and disaster safety?
One of the key attributes of concrete construction is durability. After watching the destruction of the 2007 tornado outbreak in Greensburg, KS, and the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado, we started to put the pieces together that we have a solution to offer communities for better resilience. More durable buildings with high-performance features that incorporate concrete and cement can promote community continuity. Read More >
Partner News
Set Your Clock for the Great ShakeOut Drills on October 18

Following FEMA's National Preparedness Month in September, individuals and communities worldwide will participate in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills  across the nation and worldwide. More than 50 million people around the globe are expected to participate.
Held annually on the third Thursday of October, this year's International ShakeOut Day is set for Thursday, October 18, 2018. Participants practice how to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" and other aspects of their emergency plans. Read More >
FEMA USVI Findings Now Available

FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration's (FIMA) Building Science Branch deployed a Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) to affected areas in St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix in October and November 2017 in response to a request for technical support from the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) Joint Field Office in St. Croix.

The MAT evaluated damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, especially for buildings constructed or reconstructed after Hurricane Marilyn (1995), to identify both successful and unsuccessful mitigation techniques.  Download and read the full report here. 
Florence Devastation Chronicled by UF Researchers

The preliminary damage report produced by the University of Florida Wind Hazard Damage Assessment Group (WHDAG) is now available for download . The report focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Florence that struck the Carolinas on September 14.

The damage assessment report is the 20th produced by the University and summarizes the damage observations using publicly available information from the National Weather Service, national and local news sources, and social media. For the first time, WHDAG students collaborated with the recently formed the Structural Engineering Extreme Event Reconnaissance Network (StEER), sponsored by the National Science Foundation. 
Bringing Mitigation Home

Mitigating a home can be an intimidating prospect for homeowners, especially if they are also recovering from a flood event. Mitigation in the traditional sense can seem very expensive, hard to do, and technically challenging for the lay person. But, what if we took a broader look at mitigation, beyond the typical elevations, acquisitions, and relocations? How can a homeowner "DIY" mitigation activities?

This is precisely what FEMA Region III was interested in. The Region III Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning Program ( Risk MAP) team developed "Protect Your Home from Flooding: Low-Cost Projects You Can Do Yourself." This short, easy-to-read publication describes smaller-scale mitigation options for inside and outside the home, from installing a rain barrel to protecting valuable possessions to installing flood vents. It also provides information on how to identify flood risk and why flood insurance is a worthwhile investment. The idea is that every act of mitigation, no matter how small, can help a homeowner get back on his or her feet faster after an event, and reduce human suffering due to flooding.

This brochure has been used at Region III Risk MAP meetings and outreach events throughout 2018. It isn't just for Region III communities, though. Most of the suggested mitigation activities apply nationwide, and the brochure reminds homeowners to work with their local planning, building, and/or zoning office to get started.

Beyond Flood Maps: Using Interactive Tools to Inspire Flood Protection in Communities

Communicating the value of long-term planning and mitigation investment is complex and challenging. However, by using fresh, innovative digital tools and harnessing the power of storytelling, FEMA is working to improve engagement with communities to foster a greater understanding of why flood risk mitigation is important and inspire and empower them to act.

Among these tools are online story maps, a visual storytelling platform to engage audiences using mapping and multimedia environments. Story maps organize and deliver spatial data and technical concepts in a visually stimulating and approachable format.

Recently, FEMA launched three new online story map resources: 
  • FEMA's Flood Risk Products: Driving Data-Informed Decisions for Community Resilience ( helps communities understand what Flood Risk Products are, how they differ from regulatory products such as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and how they can use these powerful tools to make data-informed mitigation decisions that improve community resilience.
  • Learning from Lycoming: Using FEMA's Flood Risk Products to Improve Community Resilience ( was created in collaboration with Lycoming County, Pennsylvania's Planning Department. Using a combination of storytelling and online GIS tutorials, this story map recounts Lycoming's successful use of three Flood Risk Products to increase flood resilience. It also walks visitors step-by-step through how to use these tools to achieve similar results.
  • An Introduction to FEMA Coastal Floodplain Mapping ( is an interactive resource designed to help floodplain managers and others understand the unique attributes of the flood hazard information shown on FIRMs for coastal areas, using approachable language, interactive tutorials, and engaging illustrations.
Collaboration Opportunities and Upcoming Events
There's Still Time to Get QuakeSmart in 2018

It's not too late to join the FEMA and FLASH free
in Benton, Arkansas and Albuquerque, NM set for October 11 and 18. The workshops are designed for building officials, businesses, corporations, engineers, emergency managers, homebuilders, leaders, manufacturers, nonprofits, organizations, policymakers, public officials, risk managers, and small businesses.

Attendees will receive streamlined business continuity planning and mitigation project plans with simple, step-by-step instructions to help reduce risk and protect employees, clients, customers, and communities. In addition, the workshops include a free networking session luncheon. Read More > 
Save the Date - 2018 NSSA Storm Shelter Conference
Save the date for the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) Annual Conference November 14 and 15 in Chicago, IL. The National Storm Shelter Association's (NSSA) purpose is to ensure members produce the highest quality of residential, commercial, and community safe rooms. 
Visit NSSA  to find out more about choosing the right storm shelter today. 
Indonesian Devastation Reinforces Need for World Tsunami Awareness Day 
The UN General Assembly has called on all countries to observe November 5 as  World Tsunami Awareness Day  to raise awareness and share innovative approaches for earthquake and tsunami risk reduction.
In a statement released on October 1, The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori said, "The Indonesian earthquake and tsunami are reminders that the Pacific's "Ring of Fire" is the most active seismic zone on the planet and requires special attention when it comes to disaster risk management. About 90% of the world's earthquakes occur there and the risk of an associated tsunami is extremely high which is why early warnings are so important along with public awareness raising and evacuation drills."
World Tsunami Awareness Day will align with the  International Day for Disaster Reduction  and the "Sendai Seven Campaign". For more information on tsunami safety, download the tsunami safety FLASH Card or FEMA's Be Prepared for a Tsunami.
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