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Volume 19, Issue 10, 2017
2017 National Disaster Resilience Conference - Science, Policy, and Practice 
Program recap, slides, video, and feedback survey now available
FLASH Board of Directors, Legacy Partners, and Dave Shull

As communities started recovery in the wake of the unprecedented 2017 disaster losses of an estimated 250 billion dollars, more than 140 public, private, and government thought leaders came together at the National Disaster Resilience Conference (#NDRC17) in Atlanta to forge a stronger vision for the future.

The conference took place from October 25 to 27, and attendees focused on how to improve science, policy, and practice to enhance life safety and improve building performance in the wake of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. Findings from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the California wildfires and Mexico earthquakes took centerstage and provided real time inspiration for the leaders to increase future resilience for all communities.

This video recap provides a snapshot of the breadth of expertise and dialogue at #NDRC17.
National Disaster Resilience Conference Video Recap
Weather Channel CEO Dave Shull
Opening Session

FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson opened the conference by reviewing the year's milestones and challenges in the disaster safety and resilience movement. She then introduced Dave Shull, CEO of  The Weather Channel as the first NDRC keynote speaker. Shull delivered an inspirational welcome and shared how the news media plays a crucial role in bringing information to the public during times of disaster.

"When we bring together experts we incubate good ideas and find solutions." - Leslie Chapman-Henderson

"The Weather Channel not only gives you the what, it gives you the why." - Dave Shull 
Dr. Anne Cope and Dr. Forrest Masters
Big Science: How are We Innovating Resilience through Research and Science?
Dr. Forrest Masters, Associate Dean for Research and Facilities at the University of Florida and FLASH Academic Partner, kicked off the "Big Science" panel discussion as a moderator and panelist. He cited studies that show how Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure brings America's universities together. ( view  slides )
Panelist Dr. Anne D. Cope, Senior Vice President of Research and Engineering at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, explained how innovative building science research leads to real-world applications. ( view slides )
Panelist Dr.Thomas L. Pratt, USGS Research Geophysicist, shared the latest news on the earthquake front, discussing early-warning systems and more. ( view slides )
"We break stuff, tear it apart and figure out how to make it better." - Dr. Anne Cope
"Technology is the end run to reduce losses from windstorms." Dr. Forrest Masters
"Earthquakes are not just California's problem." - Thomas L. Pratt
Amanda Parker
Big Money: Making the Economic Case for Code-Plus Construction

Arthur Parks, CPCU, CLU, and P&C Underwriting Director for FLASH Legacy Partner State Farm, moderated the "Big Money" panel. He began the discussion on the growing body of economic data that makes the case for resilience.

Amanda Parker, Senior Analyst at the Government Accountability Office, enlightened conference attendees with her evaluation and encouragement for integrated disaster resilience action. ( view slides )

Ed Laatsch, Director of the Safety, Planning, and Building Science Division at FLASH Legacy Partner FEMA, gave an update on FEMA studies that are underway to measure past and future impacts of disaster resilience through the "Losses Avoided Study." ( view slides )

Carolyn Kousky, Director of Policy Research and Engagement at Wharton Risk Center, linked disaster insurance to risk reduction by demonstrating the importance of aligning insurance with mitigation to advance resilience. ( view slides )

Sebastian Awando, Associate Researcher at the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research at the University of Alabama wrapped up the "Big Money" panel with a presentation of his economic study on beyond-code construction programs. His study measured the value of FORTIFIED Home construction on home resale in Alabama. ( view slides )

"Spending on hazard mitigation is small compared to spending on recovery." - Amanda Parker

"For every public dollar spent on mitigation, that's $4 saved for society." - Ed Laastch

"As disaster losses are lowered through hazard mitigation, the cost of insuring the residual risk decreases, increasing insurability and affordability" - Carolyn Kousky

"Alabama leads the nation in number of FORTIFIED homes." - Sebastian Awando
Leo Abruzzese
Keynote - Benefits of Flood Mitigation Investments 
Keynote speaker Leo Abruzzese, Global Director of Public Policy at the EIU, showcased community case studies that examined the economics and broader benefits for investing in flood mitigation. Mayor Nancy Shaver of St. Augustine, Florida pointed out how critical this type of data is for local leaders. ( view slides)

"Flood mitigation can create significant discounts of up to 45% on flood insurance." - Leo Abruzzese
Karthik Ramanathan, Audrey Rierson, 
Jack Jordan
Big Policy Part I - Building Blocks of Codes & Standards 
FLASH Senior Policy Analyst Audrey Rierson moderated   part one of the "Big Policy" panel, which provided a deep dive into the importance of building codes in catastrophe modeling, safety, and resiliency.

Karthik Ramanathan of AIR Worldwide took the podium to give examples of the roles of building codes in catastrophe models. His insights helped attendees see the importance of codes in pricing insurance products. ( view slides )

Jack Jordan, Senior Technology Researcher for State Farm, shared the evolution of ArcFault Circuit Interrupters in the National Electrical Code. His insights made the point that resilience advocates must simultaneously protect existing safety features in codes while promoting future model code adoption. ( view slides )

FEMA Lead Physical Scientist and PTS Building Science Area Manager John Ingargiola joined the dialogue by delivering a webinar on how the agency leverages building codes and standards to advance resiliency. His insights on FEMA policy directives that align with local resilience efforts provided highly relevant, new information about how to enhance local mitigation and relief resources for recovery as well as pre-disaster mitigation projects. He made a strong case for floodplain regulations and enhanced flood hazard mitigation as well. ( view slides )

"Cat models allow (re)insurers, financial institutions, corporations, governments to assess, evaluate and manage catastrophe risk." - Karthik Ramanathan

"AFCI required in new homes, but did you know that you can retrofit old homes & enjoy this key level of fire protection?" - Jack Jordan

"Including building codes in the NFIP would have an overall positive impact in reducing physical flood losses and other hazard losses." - John Ingargiola
Lunch Keynotes W. Craig Fugate and Wendy Spencer

Former FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate kicked off the lunch program. He shared insights into emergency management and operations on future disaster resilience. He also addressed the outlook for success of the movement.

"It's appropriate to fund disasters, it's not appropriate to rebuild to the past." - W. Craig Fugate

Wendy Spencer, a former member of the FLASH Board of Directors and President of Leadership Florida, highlighted successes and challenges with mobilizing volunteers and energizing donors. She also stressed the importance of growing a culture of preparedness through outreach to leaders in public and private sectors.  ( view slides )

"If you are involved with the news media, please be a vehicle to promote ways to help/donate in wake of disasters." - Wendy Spencer

To close out the luncheon program, the FLASH Board of Directors honored Fugate, Spencer, and Dr. Rick Knabb of The Weather Channel as the new 2017 Class of Leadership Partners. 
Audrey Rierson, Dale Thomure, Sara Yerkes
Big Policy Part II - The U.S. Building Code Landscape
Building codes are the foundation for disaster resilience, and the "Big Policy Part II" panel elucidated how codes are adopted and enforced across the country.
Dale Thomure, Mitigation Manager for FLASH Partner ISO, doubled as a moderator and panelist. He reported on trends in building code adoption from the ISO National Building Code Assessment Report and ongoing field analysis. ( view slides )

Senior Vice President of Government Relations Sara Yerkes from FLASH Legacy Partner International Code Council provided an update from the Coalition for Current Safety Codes. As always, Sara made a strong and elegant case for codes as the priority for all resilience efforts. ( view slides )

FLASH Senior Policy Analyst Audrey Rierson detailed the case study of Texas residential building codes and the positive implications of HB 2040 passed by the Texas Legislature this year in " The Status of Texas Residential Building Codes".
( view slides )

"Code enforcement efforts are highly variable and are influenced by a number of factors." - Dale Thomure

"We need cost impact analysis to move the needle for code improvement." - Sara Yerkes

"Texas is an excellent example of the complexities of building code issues. It's a large, highly populated, diverse state that faces nearly every natural disaster imaginable." -Audrey Rierson
Bill Read
Big Weather - How Will Hurricane Harvey Redefine Our Approach to Flooding?
Mark Taylor, President MDT & Associates, and Vice President of Business Development at WeatherBELL Analytics, LLC, moderated the "Big Weather" panel which reflected on lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey outreach efforts.

Bill Read, shared his observations of Hurricane Harvey's impact on the Houston/Galveston region as both a meteorologist and as a Houston-area homeowner. ( view slides )

Randall Behm of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers covered current trends in non-structural flood risk adaptive measures. ( view slides )

Smart Vent's Tom Little discussed floodplain design, construction, and flood insurance. His case studies highlighted how homes with flood mitigation performed successfully in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. ( view slides )

"Does the 100-year floodplain mean anything relative to risk along the Gulf coast?" - Bill Read

"Are property damages of $10.2 Billion annually from 1985-2016 going to be the new normal?" - Randall Behm

"Engineered flood vents perform as advertised." - Tom Little
Mike Rimoldi, Manny Perotin, Dr. David Prevatt, Melanie Tydrich, Mark Benthien, Janiele Maffei, Faith Berry, David Roueche
Breakout Sessions
Hazard Field Experts facilitated discussion around design questions and communication considerations for earthquakes, floods, high-wind events, and wildfires. The breakout sessions were followed by a report to conference attendees led by Melanie Tydrich, FLASH Board Member and Senior Channel Manager for Kohler Co. 
Michael Lingerfelt
Big Help - Interview Spotlight

Jamie Morrison, NBC News Producer, led the "Big Help" panel with insights from leaders at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Michael Lingerfelt of Lingerfelt International covered lessons from the AIA Disaster Assistance Program's decade of nationwide workHe illustrated the changing landscape of natural hazards, accompanying pitfalls, and mitigation opportunities to create resilience. ( view slides )

Marcus Tillman Coleman Jr., Acting Deputy Director DHS Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, recommended strategies to improve engagement with faith-based and community organizations. ( view slides )

"AIA volunteers saved the state of Alabama $300,000 after the 2011 tornado." - Michael Lingerfelt

"More than 2400 faith leaders, community influencers, and government practitioners registered for DHS Center and FEMA ICPD 2017 webinars." 
- Marcus Coleman
Aris Papadopoulos
Big Picture - Focus on Resilience Action Around the Globe 
FLASH Board Member of the Year, NDRC17 Silver Sponsor, and USAA AVP Thomas Woods moderated the "Big Picture" panel that provided an international perspective on disaster-resilience insights. 

Aris Papadopoulos from the Resilience Action Fund reviewed how the United Nations Sendai Framework would affect future resilience for businesses and consumers. ( view slides )

James Cook University's Dr. Daniel Smith discussed parallels in tropical cyclone mitigation research, challenges, and solutions between Australia and the United States. ( view slides )

"You cannot be green without being resilient as well." - Aris Papadopoulos

"The majority of homes in Florida are still highly vulnerable to wind damage." - Dr. Daniel Smith
Robert Andrews, Leslie Chapman-Henderson, General Honoré
Lt. General Russel L. Honoré, USA (Ret.) Opens Day Two of NDRC
FLASH Leadership Partner retired Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré provided conference attendees with a disaster safety wake-up call for individual preparedness and decision-making. Gen. Honore shared what worked in recent disasters, and where lies opportunity for improvement. He also highlighted the importance of social media in advancing resilience. ( view slides )

"How well you recover depends on how well you prepare. Resilience needs to be baked into our culture." - Lt. General. Russel L. Honoré

"Thank you, FEMA, for your dedicated service to citizens in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, California, and beyond."  - Lt. General Russel L. Honoré
Heidi Rosofsky, Christi Collins, Phil Burton
Big Business: What are the Best Practices for Resilience in the Workplace?
The first panel of the final day of NDRC17 was moderated by Conference Bronze Sponsor and FLASH Legacy Partner Simpson Strong-Tie Vice President Phil Burton. Panelists drilled into ways businesses can increase resilience and rebound more quickly post-disaster.

FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Operations Branch Chief Christi Collins presented the new FEMA Ready Business Program developed with FLASH. The popular program offers one-day workshops, free streamlined continuity planning toolkits with enhanced mitigation content, and much more. ( view slides )

Global Vision Consortium's Heidi Rosofsky shared her perspective on how to build Disability or Access and Functional Needs (DAFN) community resilience through inclusive messaging strategies. ( view slides )

"We can't get back to business until your employees get back to work." - Christi Collins

"One in five American adults have a disability. Include employees in disability, access, and functional needs planning." - Heidi Rosofsky
Mary Uher, Annie Kao, Kurt Koch
Big Innovation: Building with New and Emerging Products, Techniques, and Technologies
Kurt Koch of FLASH Partner Huber Engineered Woods moderated experts on the "Big Innovation" panel, who addressed the different aspects of wood-frame construction incorporating strong connections and building for tornado and seismic performance.
Senior Field Engineer for Simpson Strong-Tie Annie Kao examined innovative connections for stronger homes. ( view slides )
APA Engineered Wood Specialist Mary Uher shared lessons learned about building for tornado resistance. ( view slides )
"90% of our lives are spent in buildings, but they aren't always safe." - Annie Kao
"96% of all tornadoes are EF2 and below." - Mary Uher
Kim Bucciero Will Johnston
Big Trends: Are Tiny Homes Part of the New Normal for Housing?
NBC News Producer Morrison took the podium once again to interview the experts in the "Big Trends" portion of the Conference.
Will Johnston and Kim Bucciero of Tiny House Atlanta provided insights into this popular movement that is making a big impact on housing policy.  ( view slides )
"We are getting back to basics. Most tiny homes are not mobile." - Will Johnston 
Ed Laatsch
Big Vision: The Mission of FIMA's Risk Management Directorate 

Taking the stage once again, Ed Laatsch of FEMA presented the "Big Vision" of the Risk Management Directorate with their five-year strategy to:
  • Increase mitigation investments and number of insurance policies
  • Increase community and individual understanding of risk
  • Improve RMD organizational health
  • Improve community experience, engagement and support (view slides)
  "For our nation to become more resilient, we must develop a more effective and efficient way to invest in mitigation." - Ed Laatsch
Jamie Farny, Mike Rimoldi, Joel May, Kevin Davis
Big Idea: Building Resilient Homes - Breezy Point Demonstration Build
FLASH Senior Vice President of Education and Technical Programs Mike Rimoldi moderated the "Big Idea" panel. He started the session with an update on the status of the Breezy Point demonstration home project that will create a resilient home to replace one devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Panelists Jamie Farny, Director, Building Marketing, Portland Cement Association, ( view slides ) Kevin Davis, Director of Sales, Quad-Lock Building Systems, Ltd ( view slides ), and Joel May, Program Manager, Disaster Durable Solutions, BASF Performance Materials, Construction ( view slides ) highlighted the resilient building materials, techniques, and processes featured in the home.

"We can build with concrete for better performance." - Jamie Farny

"You're building a fire, sound, and flood barrier." - Kevin Davis

"Sustainability can't exist unless a building is strong and resilient." - Joel May
Lawrence Frank, Rachel Minnery, Mehdi Noori,  Laurie Schoeman
Big Metrics: Do We have the Right Tools to Measure and Drive Community Resilience?
Rachel Minnery, Senior Director of Sustainable Development Policy for the AIA, moderated the "Big Metrics" panel discussion. She highlighted facts about using the NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide as a tool.  ( view slides )
Mehdi Noori of MIT reviewed the streamlined hazard mitigation cost assessment framework for residential buildings. ( view slides )
Lawrence Frank, MRP, CFM, Resilience Program Manager, Atkins North America presented a holistic approach to maximizing community resilience. ( view slides )
National Program Director for Enterprise Community Partners Laurie Schoeman closed out the panel by sharing insights on how resilience is important in all communities. ( view slides )
"Many communities do not know how to identify vulnerabilities." - Rachel Minnery
"Why do we focus on RESPONSE to disasters over mitigation?" - Mehdi Noori
"It costs less to harden dams than to continue rebuilding." - Lawrence Frank
"Communities that rebuild after a disaster build back better and stronger
than before the event." - Laurie Schoeman
Dr. Rick Knabb
Keynote by Dr. Rick Knabb Demonstrates His Passion for Resilience
Dr. Rick Knabb Hurricane Expert & Tropical Program Manager,  The Weather Channel shared lessons learned from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as his passion for risk communication and mitigation.
"The biggest lesson from this year's hurricane season is the need for more emphasis on flood insurance public education." - Dr. Rick Knabb
"We don't need to shy away from talking publicly about building codes." - Dr. Rick Knabb
Leslie Chapman-Henderson
Big Close - FLASH Introduces Three Pillars of Resilience
Following the 2017 "Season of Change"
Planning for the NDRC program started long before the advent of the epic disaster outbreak of 2017However, the focus on "Big" in all things resilience turned out to be prophetic. FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson concluded the conference by synthesizing the ideas and priorities put forward by conference participants to address the big challenges in the disaster safety and resilience movement.

During her closing keynote, Leslie recapped the takeaways from the different topic areas of science, policy, and practice and pledged to work with the participants to create a statement of priorities for the movement in the coming year.

As promised, FLASH crafted the following three essential pillars for resilience as priorities and is offering them to stakeholders as the 2017 "Season of Change" ends.  Read More >
Planning is now underway for the 2018  National Disaster Resilience Conference November 7-9 in Clearwater Beach, FL. Please provide your feedback from the 2017 conference in the survey below so that we may continue to provide an excellent conference experience.

Find out about sponsorship opportunities here or email Call for presentations to open on January 16. Click here to view the 2017 photo gallery.
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