Designing the Next Decade of Disaster Safety

Last Friday, I had the honor of speaking to a distinguished group at the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) 2009 Annual Meeting, Designing the Next Decade of Disaster Safety.

Inspirers at 2009 FLASH Meeting

Inspirers at 2009 FLASH Meeting

The picture above shows FLASH President/CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson with the meetings’ “Inspirers” John Zarella (CNN Miami Correspondent), Bill Read (National Hurricane Center Director) and me (representing WPLG-TV).  Former President Bill Clinton gave the opening “Inspirer” charge via video recording.

The 2009 meeting brought together renowned experts, including academics, builders, communicators, educators, emergency managers, engineers, nonprofits, researchers and scientists all working together to articulate the new goals for increased information sharing, breakthrough research and finding real “stories” of disaster safety.

Breakout sessions were held for Implementers (participants who have a role of designing policies and leading lasting “uses” of mitigation), Problem Solvers (those who serve in professions that include a mission to “identify, test and verify mitigation products, processes and techniques”), and Storytellers (those who have a role of selling, explaining and teaching mitigation on topics that include tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires).

The Implementers articulated the model programs and policies for building mitigation into this nation’s infrastructure and marketplace; the Problem Solvers addressed challenges of knowledge and technology transfer, information sharing, integration and ultimate closing of gaps between research and users; and the Storytellers identified the “stories” of mitigation and best practices for sharing the stories.

The meeting was held in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, which was fitting given that a little over one year ago, FLASH celebrated the grand opening of StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes.”  Untold numbers have been educated in a fun way on building safer while visiting Epcot’s interactive ‘4-D’ experience.  See my blog on StormStruck from August 26, 2008.

A summary of the FLASH meeting will be posted soon at


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