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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.

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The Latest in Disaster Resilience

#NDRC21 Energizes the Movement

For three days in December, a veritable who's who of industry leaders gathered at the 2021 National Disaster Resilience Conference in Clearwater Beach, Florida, to share best practices in science, engineering, policy, and practical experience. 

Watch Recap
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The first-ever CEO Roundtable set the tone by introducing the D.R.E.A.M. home and setting forth the goal of creating homes that are Durable, Resilient, Energy Efficient, Affordable, and Modern. 


In the conference’s 30+ sessions, industry thought leaders, meteorologists, and researchers gathered to discuss the myriad and growing threats to safe homes. Passionate dialogue against the backdrop of frequent and intensifying disasters often begged the question:


Is the ideal D.R.E.A.M home attainable? Can homebuyers have it all?


The solutions raised during the CEO Roundtable and ensuing sessions pointed to a hopeful, “Yes!” To give homebuyers their D.R.E.A.M. home, the disaster resilience industry possesses a wide variety of new and existing tools in its belt — everything from better building codes to 3D printing construction to modest increases in upfront investment. It’s now up to stakeholders across our movement to put our minds, resources, and ultimately the homes we build to the test.


With each collaborative opportunity like #NDRC21, a clear vision of a stronger disaster resilience movement for the future emerges — and with it the promise of more prosperous communities. 

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To learn more about #NDRC21, click here to read the conference recap featured in Risk & Insurance. Visit the new nationaldisasteresilienceconference.org for information about #NDRC22, including the call for presentations, sponsorship opportunities, and more.

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Are you QuakeSmart? New Toolkit Guides

Orgs through Earthquake Preparedness

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Educators got a first look at the new QuakeSmart Toolkit in a webinar held on Oct. 28, 2021. The updated version helps businesses and organizations identify risk and take action as they devise an earthquake preparedness plan. School officials and educators nationwide got a chance to meet with earthquake experts and learn about disaster mitigation grants.


Schools that earn the QuakeSmart designation improve their financial security outlook and ensure the safety of employees, families, and students against the ever-present threat of an unpredictable and catastrophic earthquake. With resources like checklists and cost estimate worksheets, the toolkit guides organizations through viable action plans to meet disaster preparedness standards relevant to them.


Earn a QuakeSmart designation for your school, business, or organization! Gain recognition for your earthquake preparedness in one or all six of the focus areas: Staff, Space, Systems, Structure, Surroundings, and Service. More importantly, gain peace of mind knowing you’re mitigating potential loss and protecting the people you care about.



Kickstart your QuakeSmart action plan with the new toolkit. Stay tuned for more information on QuakeSmart workshops and webinars in 2022. For more information email info@flash.org.

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Updates from the Board of Directors


Adding to the palpable energy of #NDRC21, we bestowed a well-deserved honor to a brilliant leader in the disaster resilience movement. FLASH presented Elizabeth Gulick, Vice President of Catastrophe Experience at USAA, with the prestigious Board Member of the Year Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and dedication to the advancement of disaster safety.


As USAA's Catastrophe Experience leader, she and her team provide critical end-to-end services that prepare, protect, and empower members coping with losses due to a catastrophe. Embodying the #NDRC21 theme, The People, Professionals, and Passion of Our Movement, Gulick’s focus on member-centric innovation continues to serve as a model for excellence as we meet the growing need for disaster resilience. 


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In November, the Board of Directors elected Dr. Jeff Czajkowski as a new advisor. Jeff directs the Center for Insurance Policy and Research (CIPR) at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and brings with him decades of experience in risk management and disaster resilience planning, filling numerous important roles in academia, as well as the public and private sectors. Jeff is a valued FLASH Partner and we look forward to working with him and CIPR to continue our resilience collaboration.

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FLASH in the NEWS


Major news outlets regionally and nationally have featured our recent efforts.


The release of the Buyer’s Guide to Resilient Homes last fall was covered by USA Today and The Washington Post with a focus on the impacts of climate change on severe weather that threatens homes nationwide, especially those built to outdated building codes.


Following the deadliest tornado outbreak in 10 years last December, FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson appeared on The Weather Channel and FOX Weather to discuss the crucial role of tornado safe rooms and high-standard building codes to protect lives and property.

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Partner Spotlight on Resilience

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Antoine B. Richards, MPH

Chief of Staff, Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management


Q: Can you tell us about your background, education, and what made you want to be involved in emergency management?


A: My introduction to emergencies and disasters started at a young age. As the son of a retired Army veteran, Navy veteran, and immigrant parent, I have been very fortunate to travel this country and see the world since birth. Alternatively, I have been exposed to many natural disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, flooding, blizzards, and an occasional scare of volcanic eruption at Mt. Rainier while being stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington. Read More >

In Memoriam

Father of Safe Room Commemorated with

Lifetime Achievement Award

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Dr. Ernst Kiesling, professor of wind engineering at Texas Tech and former executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association, passed away October 14. He was known famously as the “Father of the Safe Room.” To the disaster safety movement, he was a hero and friend.

After a tornado tore through Burnet, Texas, in 1972, Dr. Kiesling went out to assess the damage. At the disaster site, he noticed a small pantry still standing amidst a destroyed home. The observation led Dr. Kiesling to the idea of using above-ground shelters to protect families during a tornado.


Two years later, an F5 tornado struck Xenia, Ohio, killing 33 people and injuring over 1,300. The tornado damaged or destroyed 1,200 houses, 10 churches, and multiple schools and businesses. Over two days, 148 tornadoes struck several states, with Xenia suffering the worst damage. Dr. Kiesling's team visited the site, and there amidst the rubble, they found an interior bathroom still intact. The above-ground shelter idea continued to evolve into what it is today — debunking the conventional wisdom that people have to be underground to survive a tornado.


In memory of Dr. Kiesling, FLASH established the Dr. Ernst Kiesling Lifetime Achievement Award honoring his lifelong dedication to protecting the public through leadership, research innovation, and mentoring a generation of exemplary high wind engineers.

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Partner News

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News from FEMA


Building Codes, The Foundation for Resilience: FEMA's Building Code Strategy

On the heels of the new FEMA Strategy, FEMA is finalizing the FEMA Building Codes Strategy. The Strategy defines the goals and objectives that FEMA will pursue to create a more resilient Nation with superior building performance during disasters. Read More >


FEMA’s Resilient Nation Partnership Network Releases “Building Alliances for Equitable Resilience” Partner Voices

The Resilient Nation Partnership Network (RNPN) recently released a series of audio stories on equity and resilience, featuring four diverse voices who contributed to the “Building Alliances for Equitable Resilience resource that was published in April 2021. Read More >


FEMA Releases Second Coloring Book in the “Safer Communities” Coloring Book Series: “My Safe Yard”

The “My Safe Yard” coloring book aims to teach young children (primarily ages 4 to 7) about how preparing their yard for a storm can make their home safer. Read More >


FEMA Releases Resources for the Wind Resistant Provisions of the 2021 International Codes

The provisions of the International Codes aim to ensure that structures can adequately resist wind forces. FEMA has contributed to the development of the International Codes since the first edition was published in 2000, up to and including the latest 2021 edition. Read More >

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Intl. Code Council Publishes Electric Vehicle and Building Codes Resource


The International Code Council has published a new educational resource on electric vehicle charging infrastructure and building codes.


Electric Vehicles and Building Codes: A Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions is the first in a series of publications to support communities in achieving greenhouse gas reduction goals in a safe and efficient manner, according to an ICC news release. The resource presents solutions already implemented by jurisdictions that have enacted policies aimed at supporting increased EV deployment. Read More>

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PCA Announces 2021 Energy and Environment Award Winners


The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced the winners of the 2021 Energy and Environment (E&E) Awards, recognizing outstanding environmental and community relations efforts that go above and beyond what is required. Submissions from plants across the U.S. were evaluated and recognized for environmental efforts completed in 2020.


“America’s cement manufacturers continue to focus on researching and developing new and innovative ways to reduce environmental footprint,” said PCA President and CEO Michael Ireland. “These accomplishments and industry commitment to carbon neutrality across the entire value chain demonstrate PCA members dedication to energy efficiency and a more sustainable future.” Read More>

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Two Construction Companies Promote Construction Trades Education and Careers


Building Talent Foundation (BTF) and Simpson Strong-Tie have created a strategic alliance to promote the growth of the residential construction industry workforce in the United States.


Simpson Strong-Tie joined BTF’s cross-sectoral coalition of employers and educators as an innovation partner. Simpson Strong-Tie is donating a total of $600,000 to the foundation as part of its commitment over the next three years. BTF collaborated with all members of the residential construction sector to meet measurable outcomes for the industry and for communities. Read More>

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Hurricane Researcher Follows Storm Fury in the Lab and on the Land 


Welcome to From Florida, a podcast where you’ll learn how minds are connecting, great ideas are colliding, and groundbreaking innovations become a reality because of the University of Florida. 


Forrest Masters was an undergraduate student at UF when a professor asked if he wanted to join a research team that chased tropical cyclones. He has been tracking storms ever since. In addition to conducting research during major storms, Forrest oversees UF’s advanced wind tunnel – a National Science Foundation user facility that attracts researchers from across the U.S. In this episode of From Florida, Forrest shares what it is like to conduct research in the middle of a hurricane and how his research may help contribute to more resilient communities. Produced by Nicci Brown, Brooke Adams, Emily Cardinali, and James L. Sullivan. Original music by Daniel Townsend, a doctoral candidate in music composition in the College of the Arts. Read More >

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Come See Us at Upcoming Events

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The 2022 National Hurricane Conference — the nation’s leading forum for education and professional training in hurricane and disaster preparedness — is scheduled for April 11–14, 2022, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida.


Get informed through three full days of workshops and training sessions covering meteorology, hydrology, evacuation planning, recovery, fire rescue/law enforcement, mass care, hurricane history, and more. Hear from the nation’s leading experts in hurricane-related issues during speaker sessions with certificate training courses and “rap” sessions led by the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and FEMA. 


The awards committee invites you to make nominations for the National Hurricane Conference’s 2022 Awards Program. Check out the award criteria and submission guidelines. Be sure to include specific activities and accomplishments of your nominee rather than general background. The deadline is Friday, January 28, 2022.


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Mark Your Calendars

The details below are based on the most up-to-date

information available to FLASH as of January 18, 2022

NAHB International Builders' Show

February 8 - 10, 2022 | Orlando, FL


National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting

March 29 - 31, 2022 | Memphis, TN


 CFSI 32nd Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium

April 6 - 7, 2022 | Washington, D.C.


National Tropical Weather Conference

April 6 - 9, 2022 | South Padre Island, TX


2022 National Hurricane Conference

April 11 - 14, 2022 | Orlando, FL

 

2022 National VOAD Conference

May 2 - 5, 2022 | Baltimore, MD

 

Governor's Hurricane Conference

May 8 - 13, 2022 | West Palm Beach, FL


Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Annual Meeting

May 15 - 19, 2022 | Orlando, FL


12th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (NCEE) and the 2022 EERI Annual Meeting

June 27 - July 1, 2022 | Salt Lake City, UT


47th Annual Natural Hazards Workshop

July 10 - 13, 2022 | Broomfield, CO

 

ICC Annual Conference & Expo

September 11 - 14, 2022 | Louisville, KY

 

National Disaster Resilience Conference

November 7 - 10, 2022 | Clearwater Beach, FL

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Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

1708 Metropolitan Blvd.

Tallahassee, FL 32308

(850) 385-7233