"Better Building Codes: Demanding Minimum Construction Practices—It’s the Least We Can Do!”
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Multihazard Mitigation Council's Second in the Webinar Series Addressing Pressing Aspects of Hazards Mitigation

When: Thursday, July 24, 2014
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Presenter: Leslie Chapman-Henderson
Contact: Philip Schneider

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This is the National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council’s (MMC) second webinar in a new webinar series on mitigation that will address social considerations, governance (including building codes and zoning ordinances), the built environment, hazard and risk assessment and economics.

The second webinar in the series, titled "Better Building Codes: Demanding Minimum Construction Practices—It’s the Least We Can Do!” will be delivered by Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes furthers its mission to strengthen homes and safeguard families from disasters as a consumer advocate for better building codes, construction practices and products, as well as educating consumers on how they can prepare themselves for any natural or man-made disaster.

Chapman-Henderson will discuss the issue of policy leadership for strong building codes, making building codes and resilience a public value, and the importance of transparency of these issues to the public, many of whom spend much of their life within residential dwellings. Building codes are a first step to resilience against natural disasters, a minimum standard for construction and alone are not sufficient for optimal protection against disasters. However, they are a necessary first step. This may be a simple concept for practitioners in the scientific and design communities, but not one widely understood by the public. The disaster safety movement must create a public value for resilience at every step—starting with strong building codes as the foundation for additional disaster-resilient construction.

In this context, the webinar will explore two examples of challenges and opportunities to create a demand for minimum construction standards. The first example focuses on a long struggle towards adoption of modern seismic provisions within Memphis, Tennessee’s building codes. The second addresses newly adopted residential building codes in Moore, Oklahoma, aimed to prevent destruction from tornadoes, like those that devastated Moore in May 2013. Both of these case studies highlight approaches to destroy the dangerous myths that permeate the beliefs of homeowners and residents across the country: in Memphis, TN that earthquakes do not and will not happen on the East Coast and in Moore, OK that building practices cannot prevent the destruction of tornadoes.

Leadership, education and collaboration are the essential elements to making Americans safer in their homes, both every day and in the face of extreme weather. Creating a public value for strong building codes is the base level of the pyramid to lead to a culture of disaster-resilient construction, and therefore disaster prevention.

As FLASH President and CEO, Leslie Chapman-Henderson is widely recognized for growing a small committee of volunteers in 1998 into the country’s leading consumer advocacy organization for disaster safety. Leslie has delivered keynote addresses for diverse audiences including Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, national associations, major conventions like South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive and more. She has also testified before the United Nations, United States Congress and state legislatures as a subject matter expert on mitigation. She has appeared in hundreds of media interviews including television and radio appearances on AccuWeather, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, nationally-syndicated programs such as This New House, Home Again with Bob Vila and a one-hour, PBS special entitled, Blueprint for Safety – Disaster-Resistant Homes.

Her experience and expertise spans creative, technical and advocacy initiatives, from delivery of the award-winning, 4-D "edu-tainment” experience, StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort to development of Blueprint for Safety®, a comprehensive education program on disaster resilience for families, graduate students, professionals, and volunteers.

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