New Podcast: Wildfire: From Little Embers to Big Flames

With more than $40 billion in insured losses due to wildfire in just the past three years, understanding wildfire threats to homes and families is vital. This episode offers an in-depth conversation about the continuing toll of wildfire losses across the United States, making it clear that there is STILL more to do. You can do your part by participating in the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, this Saturday, May 1.

Thanks to the generous support from National Wildfire Preparedness Day sponsor State Farm, 150 communities received project funding awards to support activities aimed at reducing potential loss of life, property, and natural resources to wildfire.

Michele Steinberg

Please join me and my guest Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). We discuss the new Outthink Wildfire Initiative, wildfire mitigation, defensible space, and the importance of wildfire prevention.

Topics:

  • Vis-a-vis Nature: How and where to build before paying for development and disasters (3:20)
  • Firewise: Dependent on Forest Service grants, now partners for preparedness campaign (5:20)
  • Typical Wildfires: What does and doesn’t make wildfire a risk? (7:09)
  • Embers Ignite: Dry leaves that accumulate and pile up in corners and gutters do damage (9:10)
  • Wildfire Mitigation: Protect your home before because nobody will be there with a hose (10:50)
  • Effective Measures: Make sure home envelope and exterior is ignition resistant (12:25)
  • What’s fuel?: Pine needles, leaves, trees, and homes – no fuel means no fire (16:46)
  • First Saturday in May: Wildfire Community Prep Day to spread awareness, reduce risk (22:46)
  • Outthink Wildfire Initiative: Wildfires are going to happen and will not be extinguished (24:51)
  • Mitigate Risk/Retrofit: Use and enforce sensible building codes and land use standards (29:37)
  • House/Structure Fire vs. Wildfire: 37% of fire responders are trained, only ⅔ have PPE (34:17)

I hope you enjoy this podcast episode and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, share, and provide a review on iTunes. Don’t miss these helpful resources and links too:

Michele Steinberg on LinkedIn

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

NFPA Firewise Program

Wildfire Community Prep Day

Outthink Wildfire Initiative

Healthy Forest Restoration Act

FEMA

Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

Leslie Chapman-Henderson

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

FLASH Videos

National Disaster Resilience Conference

Just in case you missed our previous Strong Homes, Safe Families! episodes:

  1. #HurricaneStrong and the 2020 Season feat. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham
  2. The Scoop on Hurricane Shutters feat. Tim Robinson, Managing Partner of Global Protection Products and President of the International Hurricane Protection Association
  3. Skills + Supplies Today = Safety and Survival Tomorrow feat. Sean Reilly, District Manager for Lowe’s along North and South Carolina coast-between Myrtle Beach and Morehead City
  4. #HurricaneStrong Home Hacks that Save Time and Money feat. Bill Ferimer, Lowe’s Store Manager in Wilmington, North Carolina
  5. Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong feat. Amanda Chase, State Farm Insurance Agent in Winter Park, Florida
  6. Take Steps Today for a Smooth Hurricane Claim Process Tomorrow feat. Elizabeth Gulick, VP of Claims Operations for USAA
  7. Dr. Anne Cope on Science That Makes Us #HurricaneStrong feat. Anne Cope, Ph.D., PE, Chief Engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
  8. Ready, Set, ShakeOut! Feat. Mark Benthien, Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)
  9. Ending the Season #HurricaneStrong, a Conversation with Dr. Rick Knabb, On-Air Hurricane Expert and Tropical Program Manager for The Weather Channel
  10. Building Codes Save Study with FEMA’s Ed LaatschDirector – Safety, Planning, and Building Science Division of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Management Directorate – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  11. Top Ten Tips for Disaster Safety in 2021 feat. Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
  12. FEMA’s Amanda Siok on How Building Codes and Planning Can Create a Resilient Alaska, feat. Amanda Siok, Earthquake, Tsunami, and Volcano Program Manager for FEMA Region X in Seattle
  13. WX Apps, Space Gadgets, and Tech Talk, feat. Mark Taylor, Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, MyRadar 
  14. #TornadoStrong-How One Decision Saved a Family, feat. Kevin & Sarabeth Harrison FLASH Leadership Partners & Tornado Survivors

New Podcast: FEMA’s Amanda Siok on How Building Codes and Planning Can Create a Resilient Alaska

Amanda Siok

This episode offers a dive into Alaska’s earthquake history, building code progress, resilience strategies, and much more with self-described rock nerd, Amanda Siok. Amanda is the Earthquake, Tsunami, and Volcano Program Manager for FEMA Region X in Seattle. Her perspectives on disaster safety through strong buildings and best practices offer a fresh take on our shared goals to create disaster-resilient communities.

Topics Include:

  • About Amanda (00:35)
  • Geology: Science behind what creates and collapses beautiful areas and structures (1:31)
  • Natural Hazards: Work with communities, tribes, and governments to understand vulnerability (3:10)
  • Conditions: Logistical access issues in Alaska make it challenging to adapt, meet needs (4:53)
  • Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes: Natural disasters/hazards shaped Alaska’s history (8:10)
  • 1964 vs. 2018 Alaskan Earthquakes: Differences in magnitude, duration, and destruction (9:49)
  • Building Codes: Recipe for resilient construction, visual evidence to build it right the first time (13:30)
  • BRIC: FEMA encourages jurisdictions to adopt, implement, and enforce building codes (17:42)
  • Public/Private Partnerships: Communities come together to advance disaster resilience (22:06)

I hope you enjoy this podcast episode, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, share, and provide a review on iTunes. Don’t miss these helpful resources and links too:

FEMA Region X

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant Program

Shaking of Atwood Building, M7.0 November 30, 2018 (Anchorage Earthquake)

Structural Engineering Association of Alaska (SEAAK)

Ready Business – QuakeSmart Toolkit 

Alaska Professional Design Council (APDC)

Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission

Geotechnical Advisory Commission

Leslie Chapman-Henderson

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

Just in case you missed our previous Strong Homes, Safe Families! episodes:

  1. #HurricaneStrong and the 2020 Season feat. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham
  2. The Scoop on Hurricane Shutters feat. Tim Robinson, Managing Partner of Global Protection Products and President of the International Hurricane Protection Association
  3. Skills + Supplies Today = Safety and Survival Tomorrow feat. Sean Reilly, District Manager for Lowe’s along North and South Carolina coast-between Myrtle Beach and Morehead City
  4. #HurricaneStrong Home Hacks that Save Time and Money feat. Bill Ferimer, Lowe’s Store Manager in Wilmington, North Carolina
  5. Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong feat. Amanda Chase, State Farm Insurance Agent in Winter Park, Florida
  6. Take Steps Today for a Smooth Hurricane Claim Process Tomorrow feat. Elizabeth Gulick, VP of Claims Operations for USAA
  7. Dr. Anne Cope on Science That Makes Us #HurricaneStrong feat. Anne Cope, Ph.D., PE, Chief Engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
  8. Ready, Set, ShakeOut! Feat. Mark Benthien, Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)
  9. Ending the Season #HurricaneStrong, a Conversation with Dr. Rick Knabb, On-Air Hurricane Expert and Tropical Program Manager for The Weather Channel
  10. Building Codes Save Study with FEMA’s Ed Laatsch, Director – Safety, Planning, and Building Science Division of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Management Directorate – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  11. Top Ten Tips for Disaster Safety in 2021 feat. Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

New Podcast: Top Ten Tips for Disaster Safety in 2021

For our latest podcast, we turned the tables. John Zarrella, JZ Media, former CNN Correspondent, and one of our valued board advisors hosted me to talk about our top ten affordable, simple, do-it-yourself (DIY) ways to strengthen your home as the new year begins. I hope you find these useful and be on the lookout as John will be back with us to guest host again soon.

Topics Include:

  • About Leslie (1:53)
  • Know your risk (usually flooding) by identifying disaster history in your community (8:24)
  • Earthquake: Fire following shaking, turn on/off gas valve by buying affordable wrench (9:45)
  • Flood: Wherever it rains, it can flood; buying flood insurance policy early is essential (12:39)
  • Hurricane: Make soffit covers tight, well-installed, and reinforced using caulking/sealant (16:32)
  • Tornado: Build or buy an affordable safe room or shelter for near-absolute protection (22:05)
  • Wildfire: Create defensible space around your home by clearing out/getting rid of debris (25:06)
  • Wildfire/Flood: Clean gutters to move water using safe, easy to use, affordable tools (28:44)
  • Fire: Create, document, digitally store, and update home inventory to file an insurance claim (31:05)
  • Blizzard: Use inexpensive foam, dome, and drip insulation to prevent pipes from freezing (29:23)
  • Building Code Data: Identify building codes to know how your home will perform in perils (34:26)

I hope you enjoy this podcast episode and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, share, and provide a review on iTunes. Don’t miss these helpful resources and links too:

Top Ten Tips for Disaster Safety in 2021
The National Flood Insurance Program: FloodSmart
Strengthen Your Soffits
No Code. No Confidence. – Insepct2Protect.org
Leslie Chapman-Henderson
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
#HurricaneStrong 
FLASH Videos

Just in case you missed our previous Strong Homes, Safe Families! episodes:

  1. #HurricaneStrong and the 2020 Season feat. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham
  2. The Scoop on Hurricane Shutters feat. Tim Robinson, Managing Partner of Global Protection Products and President of the International Hurricane Protection Association
  3. Skills + Supplies Today = Safety and Survival Tomorrow feat. Sean Reilly, District Manager for Lowe’s along North and South Carolina coast-between Myrtle Beach and Morehead City
  4. #HurricaneStrong Home Hacks that Save Time and Money feat. Bill Ferimer, Lowe’s Store Manager in Wilmington, North Carolina
  5. Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong feat. Amanda Chase, State Farm Insurance Agent in Winter Park, Florida
  6. Take Steps Today for a Smooth Hurricane Claim Process Tomorrow feat. Elizabeth Gulick, VP of Claims Operations for USAA
  7. Dr. Anne Cope on Science That Makes Us #HurricaneStrong feat. Anne Cope, Ph.D., PE, Chief Engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
  8. Ready, Set, ShakeOut! Feat. Mark Benthien, Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)
  9. Ending the Season #HurricaneStrong, a Conversation with Dr. Rick Knabb, On-Air Hurricane Expert and Tropical Program Manager for The Weather Channel
  10. Building Codes Save Study with FEMA’s Ed Laatsch, Director – Safety, Planning, and Building Science Division of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Management Directorate – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

New Podcast: Building Codes Save Study with FEMA’s Ed Laatsch

We often say that building codes are the foundation for resilience, and today’s new podcast reinforces that message.

This week’s Strong Homes, Safe Families! guest is Edward (Ed) M. Laatsch, Director – Safety, Planning, and Building Science Division of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Management Directorate – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Ed Laatsch, FEMA

Ed is a FLASH Founding and Legacy Partner, one of the nation’s leading experts on building science, and a true champion for resilience.

During this interview, we talk about the who, what, when, and why of the brand new Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study of Loss Prevention.

Topics Include:

  • Ed’s Background (1:02)
  • Mission: Support and develop disaster-resistant building codes to make the world safer (3:40)
  • The Study: Topline Description (5:26)
  • Flood, Wind, and Earthquake Perils: Adopt and enforce building codes across the nation (5:58)
  • Improved Building Codes: Benefits of Adoption and Enforcement (6:24)
  • At-Risk Areas: By avoiding losses with improved building codes, what has been gained? (6:49)
  • Community Case Studies: 18-million parcels viewed to mitigate disaster threats (7:11)
  • Resource Challenges: Building codes developed/regulated at the state, not federal level (9:23)
  • Prioritize: Before disaster strikes, make difficult decisions (10:59)
  • Underserved Communities: Disproportionate harm, disadvantaged ln high-risk areas (13:14)
  • Barriers: Building, repair, and costs to comply with improved building codes (15:23)
  • Storytelling: Make people aware of building codes, encourage others to take action (19:59)

I hope you enjoy this podcast episode, bonus content, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, share, and provide a review on iTunes. Don’t miss these helpful resources and links too:

Just in case you missed our previous Strong Homes, Safe Families! episodes:

  1. #HurricaneStrong and the 2020 Season feat. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham
  2. The Scoop on Hurricane Shutters feat. Tim Robinson, Managing Partner of Global Protection Products and President of the International Hurricane Protection Association
  3. Skills + Supplies Today = Safety and Survival Tomorrow feat. Sean Reilly, District Manager for Lowe’s along North and South Carolina coast-between Myrtle Beach and Morehead City
  4. #HurricaneStrong Home Hacks that Save Time and Money feat. Bill Ferimer, Lowe’s Store Manager in Wilmington, North Carolina
  5. Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong feat. Amanda Chase, State Farm Insurance Agent in Winter Park, Florida
  6. Take Steps Today for a Smooth Hurricane Claim Process Tomorrow feat. Elizabeth Gulick, VP of Claims Operations for USAA
  7. Dr. Anne Cope on Science That Makes Us #HurricaneStrong feat. Anne Cope, Ph.D., PE, Chief Engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
  8. Ready, Set, ShakeOut! Feat. Mark Benthien, Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)
  9. Ending the Season #HurricaneStrong, a Conversation with Dr. Rick Knabb, On-Air Hurricane Expert and Tropical Program Manager for The Weather Channel

New Podcast: Ending the Season #HurricaneStrong, a Conversation with Dr. Rick Knabb

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is over today, and what a season it was. The record-setting, six-month period delivered 30 named storms, topping the previous 2005 record of 28.

Dr. Rick Knabb

It is only fitting that my guest this week for Strong Homes, Safe Families! is Dr. Rick Knabb, the On-Air Hurricane Expert and Tropical Program Manager for The Weather Channel, one of our longtime resilience champions, and 2017 National Weatherperson of the Year. 

Our interview features the National Hurricane Resilience Initiative#HurricaneStrong, including how his passion helped inspire the effort and how he teamed up with FLASH to co-create it.

We cover a range of topics, including do’s and don’ts, when it comes to hurricane safety, resilience, building codes, and plans for the future of hurricane season public outreach. Dr. Rick Knabb’s contributions to the cause of hurricane resilience are immeasurable. When you listen to this podcast, you will experience the authentic passion he brings to our cause.   

  • Catching the Hurricane Bug: Rick’s passion for the weather – a combination of scientific interest and rational fear (1:16)
  • Live and Learn: Do’s and don’ts before, during, and after hurricanes (1:40)
  • Real-World Resilience: Never enough to talk about the weather; we have to do something (3:45)
  • The Five Pillars of #HurricaneStrong: Personal Safety, Family Preparedness, Financial Security, Damage Prevention, and Community Service (7:06) 
  • Life Essentials: First Aid kits, water, non-perishable foods, and medications (10:38)
  • Insurance Check-up: Think and plan or lack of resources may lead to financial ruin (12:08) (Take Steps Today for a Smooth Hurricane Claim Process Tomorrow and Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong)
  • Reality Check: The limitations of government assistance make a case for adequate  homeowner’s and flood coverage (13:29)
  • Building Codes: Beyond aesthetics, what’s behind the walls of your business and home? (14:47)
  • Community Connection: The most rewarding part of #HurricaneStrong is helping those less fortunate before, during, and after storms (20:13)
  • The #HurricaneStrong Pose: Messaging must be educational, entertaining, and engaging for kids, too (25:11)
  • What’s the future of #HurricaneStrong? (29:48)

Click here to listen to this week’s Strong Homes, Safe Families! podcast episode, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, share, and provide a review on iTunes. Don’t miss these helpful resources and links too:

Just in case you missed our previous Strong Homes, Safe Families! episodes:

  1. #HurricaneStrong and the 2020 Season feat. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham
  2. The Scoop on Hurricane Shutters feat. Tim Robinson, Managing Partner of Global Protection Products and President of the International Hurricane Protection Association
  3. Skills + Supplies Today = Safety and Survival Tomorrow feat. Sean Reilly, District Manager for Lowe’s along North and South Carolina coast-between Myrtle Beach and Morehead City
  4. #HurricaneStrong Home Hacks that Save Time and Money feat. Bill Ferimer, Lowe’s Store Manager in Wilmington, North Carolina
  5. Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong feat. Amanda Chase, State Farm Insurance Agent in Winter Park, Florida
  6. Take Steps Today for a Smooth Hurricane Claim Process Tomorrow feat. Elizabeth Gulick, VP of Claims Operations for USAA
  7. Dr. Anne Cope on Science That Makes Us #HurricaneStrong feat. Anne Cope, Ph.D., PE, Chief Engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)
  8. Ready, Set, ShakeOut! Feat. Mark Benthien, Director of Communication, Education and Outreach at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)

New Podcast: Dr. Anne Cope on Science That Makes Us #HurricaneStrong

Have you ever heard that closing your doors can limit damage in a windstorm? Do you know how many bathtubs worth of wind-driven water comes through an unprotected roof? Can you explain why something as innocuous as a soffit is relevant to the fate of your home? And, by the way, what exactly is a soffit?

If you want answers to these questions and more, this is the podcast for you.

Anne-Cope

Dr. Anne Cope, Chief Engineer, IBHS

My guest this week for Strong Homes, Safe Families! is Anne Cope, Ph.D., PE, Chief Engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). Anne is a member of the FLASH Technical Advisory Council, fellow UF Gator, and a great friend. We cover a lot of topics in this recording from science to policy and policy to practice, and I am sure you will find her engaging style not only enjoyable but insightful too.

This information is part of our effort to demystify the basics of a #HurricaneStrong home, so you and your family are ready when the next threat comes. Check out some topic highlights and timecodes below, but I recommend that you hit play, sit back, and enjoy!

  • How a passion for science created a professional journey. (0:54)
  • The importance of garage doors. (4:16)
  • Surprise! Research shows how shutting doors will limit damage. (5:28)
  • After ten years, what’s on tap at the IBHS lab? (7:41)
  • Ninety-percent of the time, significant house damage begins with garage door failure. (9:52)
  • Soffits: What do we need to know about the roof’s Achilles heel? (13:30)
  • Tech Tools and Toys: Practical use of drones to detect problems. (17:31)
  • Public Policy: Building codes, resilience, and the sealed roof deck. (19:37)
  • Water Intrusion: How much water can a hurricane push through your roof? Hint: we’re talking in terms of bathtubs. (20:15)
  • Natural Disaster Research, Reports, and Risk Communication: Find the findings and shine a light on them. (23:41)

Combined IBHS Lab and Fan Image

Click here to listen to this week’s Strong Homes, Safe Families! podcast episode, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, share, and provide a review on iTunes. Don’t miss these helpful resources and links too:

Dr. Anne Cope – Biography (Here)
The IBHS Lab (Here)
Research on value of shutting doors (Here)
Research on garage doors (Here)
Roof Strengthening Checklist (Here)
Soffit Strengthening Checklist (Here)
Protecting Openings – Shutter Types/Cost Checklist (Here)

Just in case you missed our previous Strong Homes, Safe Families! episodes:

  1. #HurricaneStrong and the 2020 Season feat. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham
  2. The Scoop on Hurricane Shutters feat. Tim Robinson, Managing Partner of Global Protection Products and President of the International Hurricane Protection Association
  3. Skills + Supplies Today = Safety and Survival Tomorrow feat. Sean Reilly, District Manager for Lowe’s along North and South Carolina coast-between Myrtle Beach and Morehead City
  4. #HurricaneStrong Home Hacks that Save Time and Money feat. Bill Ferimer, Lowe’s Store Manager in Wilmington, North Carolina
  5. Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong feat. Amanda Chase, State Farm Insurance Agent in Winter Park, Florida
  6. Take Steps Today for a Smooth Hurricane Claim Process Tomorrow feat. Elizabeth Gulick, VP of Claims Operations for USAA

New Podcast: Have an Insurance Checkup and Make Your Policy #HurricaneStrong

Are you in the dark about what your insurance policy will provide after a hurricane? Did you know that you may have coverage for food that spoils when the power fails even if your home isn’t damaged? Moreover, did you know that food spoilage coverage is often deductible-free?

Are you aware that a special, separate policy is required to cover flood? Did you know that flood policies have a 30-day waiting period? Will your coverage limits provide enough to repair and rebuild if your home is damaged?

These are the kinds of questions that you can answer during an annual insurance checkup to keep your policy current and keep you in the know before hurricanes strike.

Amanda Chase

Amanda Chase, State Farm Agent

This week’s Strong Homes, Safe Families! podcast interview and checklist (click here) focus on the insurance checkup or annual review—your way to make your policy #HurricaneStrong. My expert guest for this podcast is Amanda Chase, a State Farm insurance agent in Winter Park, Florida.

Topics Include:

  • Financial Security: Having the resources to repair and recover from hurricanes
  • Insurance Checkup: Review policies, obtain advice on coverage and updates
  • Hurricane Deductibles: How they work, when they kick in
  • Understand Exclusions and Eliminate Surprises: What a policy pays for (and doesn’t)
  • Capitalize on Building Codes: Save money on insurance with discounts for good building practices, safety features and more
  • Consumer Survey and COVID-19: More ready to get prepared to shelter at home safely
  • Power Outage Coverage: Reimbursement for loss of use and food spoilage
  • Control Uncontrollables: Know answers to questions to not fear the unknown

Click here to listen to this week’s Strong Homes, Safe Families! podcast episode, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, share, and provide a review on iTunes. Learn more about insurance and mitigation by downloading A Homeowners Insurance Guide to Natural Disasters or emailing your question to info@flash.org.

New Podcast: NHC Director Ken Graham – Getting #HurricaneStrong Ahead of the 2020 Season

Ken Graham
Ken Graham, Director – National Hurricane Center

Are you prepared to protect your family and home before hurricane season hits? Will you be able to bounce back swiftly? My guest this week on Strong Homes, Safe Families! is Ken Graham from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and he shares plenty of insights about how to stay safe.

Ken and I talk about the science, public policy, and practice of being better prepared for hurricanes, including a discussion of COVID-19. Please click here to listen to this week’s episode.

Topics Include:

  • Rising Water Evacuation: Why and when Ken decided to become a meteorologist
  • Disaster Resilience: Bouncing back to recover quickly from a hurricane is possible
  • Science: Meteorological breakthrough with track forecast and ability to narrow errors
  • Public Policy: Best practices to be resilient by knowing when and where to evacuate
  • Practice: Risk communication, perception, decision-making, and other human factors
  • Tech Tools: People flee storms, but hurricane hunters use technology to collect data
  • Preparation: Positive impact due to COVID-19 pandemic

“Little wiggles in the forecast matter. Everyone listening needs to understand that a 20- or 40-mile wiggle can make the difference to someone on the ground experiencing a foot of storm surge or maybe ten of feet storm surge.” – Ken Graham

LCH and Ken Graham

National Weather Service New Orleans/Baton Rouge team members, Ken Graham, and Leslie Chapman-Henderson strike the #HurricaneStrong “Pose”

Research Finds Consumer Overconfidence Regarding Building Codes in Disaster-Exposed Communities

Nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) announces a research-informed initiative to address missing or outdated building codes across the United States

Building Code Statistic Graphic Shareable

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® Partnership today announced consumer research findings and analysis underpinning a new transparency initiative entitled, No Code. No Confidence. Inspect to Protect.org. The organization created the effort after consumer surveys revealed that Americans are highly confident that building codes are already “in place” even though most communities at-risk for disaster are without necessary structural codes and standards for safe and optimal building performance.

The new commentary Why Americans Aren’t Concerned About Building Codes (even though they should be), outlines the research effort and introduces InspectToProtect.org—a new website that provides current residential building code statuses in an easy-to-understand format. The paper previews new Public Service Announcements, animations, and other program elements as well.

Two separate tracks informed to the campaign creation. First, behavior-focused studies indicated that while most consumers are not concerned or interested in codes, they strongly rejected the idea that codes may be absent or inadequate. Moreover, eight of ten assumed, incorrectly, that they are at least moderately protected by building codes. Another two-thirds of those surveyed indicated they would be very or extremely concerned to learn they had no code at all using words such as terrified to describe the scenario.

A companion effort focused on engineering analysis of residential building codes in more than twenty-three thousand U.S. cities and towns facing floods, high wind, hurricane, seismic, or tornado hazards. The analysis revealed that only 7,265 of the 23,000 communities had building codes with disaster-resistant provisions incorporated for both commercial and residential codes. This means that 69% of evaluated U.S. communities facing one or more of the above-described hazards is doing so without the benefit of current, relevant structural building codes.

“The research validates what we have always believed. Consumers are largely unaware of the dangerous gap between building code adoption, enforcement, and disaster risk,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “They do not understand that they may live in a community without the protection of current, modern building codes and standards. That is why we’re providing them with a way to find out where they stand.”

InspectToProtect.org allows consumers to identify the building codes used in their community currently by inputting their address to see a map with a color-coded analysis of red, yellow, green, or black. The colors indicate residential code versions based on the best available, verified national data, and reflect the status of International Residential Code (IRC) model adoption. Consumers should contact their local building or planning department to learn about the code enforcement requirements as well as they may be voluntary, mandatory, or nonexistent.

“The best way to predict home performance before a disaster is to understand how it was built,” said Chapman-Henderson. “That’s why we are bringing this information out in the open. The No Code. No Confidence. initiative and InspectToProtect.org website are unprecedented efforts to de-complicate building codes for consumers and empower them with the knowledge to better prepare for severe weather events and natural disasters.”

Today, FLASH is launching a communication campaign to promote the new initiative. The campaign includes thought-provoking Public Service Announcements like the “Four-way Stop”, and a 2D movie trailer animation depicting the “Tale of Two Towns.” Social media advertising will help drive consumers to the website as well.

The project is a multi-year effort and new elements and data will be continuously incorporated.

Learn more at www.flash.org, email to Zoe@flash.org, or call (877) 221-SAFE (7233).

About FLASH

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 FLASH partnership includes more than 100 innovative and diverse organizations that share a vision of making America a more disaster-resilient nation including: BASF Corporation, FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Huber Engineered Woods, International Code Council, ISO, Lowe’s, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, and USAA. In 2008, FLASH, and Disney opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes, in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and access free consumer resources by visiting http://www.flash.org, calling toll-free (877) 221- SAFE (7233), following @federalalliance on Twitter, on Facebook.com/federalalliance, and the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.

“Learning from the 2017 Disasters to Create a Reliably Resilient U.S” Commentary Paper Now Available

Capture

The final, edited commentary paper entitled, “Learning from the 2017 Disasters to Create a Reliably Resilient U.S.” is now available. Please access the updated and complete version here.