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Home safety in a FLASH.

Floridians well know the destruction that hurricanes can cause. For too long, however, many residents have believed that a certain amount of damage from hurricanes is inevitable; that the best they can do is endure and rebuild. This belief is misguided--and dangerous. As Florida enters the most active part of the hurricane season Hurricane season refers to a period in a year when hurricanes usually form. For more information see: Tropical cyclone#Times of formation.

For a lists of past seasons, see:
  • The Atlantic hurricane season (see also )
, now is the time for residents to focus on how they can better protect their homes, families, and finances from potential disaster.

Research shows that many homeowners are in a state of denial when it comes to their vulnerability to hurricanes. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 a recent Mason-Dixon poll, 83 percent of residents in hurricane-prone areas are insufficiently prepared for hurricane season. Talk to a person who has experienced a storm firsthand, however, and the story changes. The experience delivers a large dose of reality and usually inspires action.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH) found a way for residents to experience the power and destructive capability of a severe weather event without suffering the devastating dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
 real-life consequences. StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes[R] at INNOVENTIONS[R] at Epcot[R] features a spectacular, simulated, 4-D weather experience that combines a variety of weather hazards into one "perfect storm." Along with the storm experience, guests learn about cutting edge scientific research and new construction technologies that can protect their homes. Created in conjunction with sponsors Renaissance Re, Simpson Strong Tie, and State Farm, StormStruck is a compelling example of the important role that insurers, underwriters, and product manufacturers can play in motivating people to take action.

Play Together, Learn Together

At the exhibit, guests are treated to an introductory video hosted by Jim Cantore James M. Cantore (born February 16, 1964 in White River Junction, Vermont) is an American meteorologist. He is best known for his lengthy tenure as an on-air personality for The Weather Channel. , a world-renowned meteorologist and hurricane expert. They also are taken on a video tour of Renaissance Re's Wall of Wind, a tool used by the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University Florida International University, primarily at University Park, Miami; coeducational; chartered 1965, opened 1972. A research university, it has 18 colleges and schools and many specialized centers and institutes, including those in biomedical engineering, database  to test the effects of hurricane strength winds on structures.

After this primer, a personal "stormologist" escorts guests into the theater where the real fun and learning happens. Guests experience a severe storm and watch as their virtual home and those of their neighbors are pummeled. "We worked with our meteorology meteorology, branch of science that deals with the atmosphere of a planet, particularly that of the earth, the most important application of which is the analysis and prediction of weather.  and engineering partners to make sure the storm is as close to the real thing as possible," said FLASH president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board.  Leslie Chapman-Henderson. "We want it to be fun for the kids and their families without being scary, but real enough that they will be motivated to prepare together after they get home." Once the storm passes, guests learn about safe building techniques and work together to rebuild their neighborhood.

"The beauty of StormStruck is that guests get to see immediately how taking just a few steps toward making their homes safer can make a marked difference when the next big storm blows into town," said Chapman-Henderson.

The post-show area outside the theater continues the learning process. Young children can build a storm kit with the appropriate items that should be gathered to keep their families safe in the event of an evacuation. An interactive program, Weather Safe at Your Address, allows visitors to enter their ZIP codes and learn how to protect themselves against the weather risks that are unique to their communities.

Expanding the Message

As StormStruck's one-year anniversary approached in August, FLASH looked for ways to enhance the exhibit and reach even more audiences with disaster preparedness information. They approached FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by the Congress of the United States in 1968 through the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-448).  (NFIP NFIP National Flood Insurance Program (US FEMA)
NFIP National Foreign Intelligence Program
NFIP National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, Inc.
NFIP National Federation of Independent Photographers
) about opportunities to promote the problem of flooding, the nation's most costly, common, and deadly natural disaster. "Because of the amount of damage flooding causes each year, we knew it was essential to highlight flooding in the exhibit," said Chapman-Henderson.

FLASH and Disney consulted with the NFIP and created a ten-foot Flood Wall A flood wall (or floodwall) is a man-made primarily vertical barrier designed to temporarily contain the waters of a river or other waterway which may rise to unusual levels during seasonal or extreme weather events.  containing important information on flood causes and protective measures. The NFIP made the wall the flagship of a larger public awareness effort around the 2009 hurricane season. This Countdown to Hurricane Season campaign, which highlighted the mandatory 30-day waiting period for flood insurance Flood insurance denotes the specific insurance coverage against property loss from flooding. To determine risk factors for specific properties, insurers will often refer to topographical maps that denote lowlands and floodplains that are susceptible to flooding. , kicked off with a satellite media tour from StormStruck. Chapman-Henderson and former National Hurricane Center The U.S. National Hurricane Center, located at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, is the division of National Weather Service's Tropical Prediction Center responsible for tracking and predicting the likely behavior of tropical depressions, tropical storms and  Director Max Mayfield Britt Max Mayfield (born on September 19, 1948 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) is a meteorologist who served as the director of the National Hurricane Center from 2000 to 2007.  spoke about the exhibit and the importance of flood insurance protection.

Where it can rain, it can flood, and flood insurance is the best way for consumers to protect themselves from a flood's potentially devastating financial effects. "But we know that people are feeling pinched in this economy and even something as important as flood insurance might not be on the top of their list," said Acting Federal Insurance Administrator Ed Connor. "Through StormStruck and the Flood Wall, FLASH has done a phenomenal job in helping us tell the flood story in a unique and compelling manner."

Will there Ever be a National Catastrophe Pool?

A national catastrophe insurance program continues to be tossed around the halls of congress, with no resolution in sight. S. 505: the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2009, is sponsored by Sen. bill Nelson (r-FL). Introduced on Feb. 27, 2009, it has been referred to the Senate committee on banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. related legislation (H.r. 2555) was introduced in the House by rep. ron klein Ronald "Ron" Klein (born July 10 1957) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Florida. Klein, a Democrat, served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1993 to 1996 and in the Florida Senate from 1996 till 2006, where he was the Senate minority leader.  (D-FL 22) on May 21, 2009. It has been referred to the House Financial Services The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page.

According to the congressional research Service The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a branch of the Library of Congress that provides objective, nonpartisan research, analysis, and information to assist Congress in its legislative, oversight, and representative functions. U.S. , a non-partisan branch of the Library of congress, S. 505 as presented has the following key provisions:

* establishes the National Catastrophe Risk Consortium as a non-profit, non-federal entity to: (1) maintain an inventory of catastrophe risk obligations held by state reinsurance The contract made between an insurance company and a third party to protect the insurance company from losses. The contract provides for the third party to pay for the loss sustained by the insurance company when the company makes a payment on the original contract.  funds, and state residual insurance market entities; (2) issue, on a conduit basis, securities and other financial instruments linked to catastrophe risks insured or reinsured through Consortium members; and (3) act as a centralized repository of state risk information accessible by certain private-market participants.

* Instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to implement a national homeowners' insurance stabilization program to make liquidity loans and catastrophic loans to qualified reinsurance programs to: (1) ensure their solvency; (2) improve the availability and affordability of homeowners' insurance; (3) provide incentive for risk transfer to the private capital and reinsurance markets; and (4) spread the risk of catastrophic financial loss resulting from natural disasters and catastrophic events.

* Authorizes the Secretary to establish and collect, from qualified and pre-certified reinsurance programs, a reasonable fee to offset expenses of the program.

* Instructs the Secretary to require full repayment of all loans made under this Act.

Eric Vaughn is COO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes-FLASH[R]. He may be reached at 850-385-7233 ext. 108 or
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Author:Vaughn, Eric
Publication:Florida Underwriter
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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