Labor Day Weekend Travelers Can Use New Smartphone Technology to Stay Weather Safe Without Texting On the Road

FLASH Weather Alerts App provides voice warnings that allow drivers to track weather without distracting and dangerous texting

(Tallahassee, FL) – With AAA projecting 34.1 million Americans to hit the road this weekend, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® is urging them to practice safe driving and stay ahead of severe weather with FLASH Weather Alerts. The fast, customizable, GPS-precision smartphone app will follow U.S. travelers wherever they go and provide a verbal forecast as well as voice push notifications with more than 100 options — including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, rip currents, marine warnings and more. The app, available for both iPhone and Android devices, is currently included as a key disaster preparedness resource by Consumer Reports.

According to FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson, “FLASH Weather Alerts is the only smartphone app that will travel with you and provide all the weather information you need without dangerous driver distractions because it is hands-free. Alerts are spoken not sent via texts. This means that families are safer on the way to their holiday destinations as well as when they arrive.”

FLASH Weather Alerts offers much more than a traditional, $30 NOAA Weather Radio for a one-time price of $7.99 including:

  • An award-winning iMap platform that incorporates the only known, text-to-speech technology to deliver spoken weather notifications, helping users receive alerts while driving and avoid violation of “texting while driving” laws;
  • Apple Push Notification/Google Play Notification services, the fastest way to transmit alerts and deliver National Weather Service severe weather notifications;
  • Alerts based on the polygon issued by the National Weather Service combined with the GPS-precision that provides alerting down to the zip code, even when in motion;
  • Text or text-to-speech, seven day and hourly forecasts for current location plus five additional locations.

 

Contact:

Tami Fillyaw

(850) 385-7233 ext.112

tami@flash.org

Top Five Steps to Hurricane Flood Preparedness

National Hurricane Center and FLASH® Highlight Five Reminders for Flood Preparedness As Peak Hurricane Season Begins

Additional photos, videos and flood tips

Flooding is the nation’s costliest and deadliest natural disaster with hurricane flooding topping the list. On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused 72 U.S. deaths and $60 billion in damage, including more than $6.7 billion in flood insurance claims. As the most active part of hurricane season begins and the threat of flooding increases, the National Hurricane Center and Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® offer these five steps to take before floods strike.

Step #1: Don’t Overlook the Threat of Flooding — Hurricanes Bring Wind, Debris and Water

Hurricane winds and windborne debris can cause catastrophic damage, however wind is just one part of the risk. Whether families live on the coast or thousands of miles inland, hurricane and tropical storm flooding pose significant risk.

Step #2: Understand Evacuation — Now is the Time to Know Your Zone

First, know your zone and who will give the official evacuation orders. Second, make a plan that meets fits your needs. Third, if you can shelter in place, evaluate the ability of your home to withstand hurricane-force winds and rain.

Step #3: Avoid the Rush — Prepare Your Family Today

Everyone at risk for hurricanes should have an emergency plan and kit to help survive at least 72 hours after the storm. Taking action now ensures supplies are plentiful and, in the face of a storm, families will have the peace of mind knowing that they are ready.

Step #4: Strengthen the Family Shelter — Protect Your Home from Hurricane Flood Damage

There are options to help keep water out of the home during a hurricane. Floodproofing methods take prior planning and may require the help of professionals. Now is the time to determine flood risk and identify options to reduce that risk.

Step #5: Provide Financial Security — Purchase Flood Insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods, and there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. Families can identify their flood risk, learn about flood insurance options and find a local agent at www.floodsmart.gov.

9 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane

Leslie Chapman-Henderson is the President and CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting protection of lives and property during natural and man-made disasters.

She says, “The more you can prepare prior to a hurricane, the greater your chances are to safely shelter and recover. Taking steps to strengthen your home and preparing your family to evacuate if you live in an evacuation zone will help reduce risk of injury to you and your family, and damage to your home.”

Here are 9 ways to prepare for a hurricane: 

1. Protect doors and windows. Use “approved hurricane shutters or board up with properly installed emergency plywood shutters,” says Chapman-Henderson.

2. Stock up on sandbags in flood zonesSandbags can be useful, says Chapman-Henderson, to reduce water damage to homes and businesses. You can get sandbags in larger quantities for your home or business nationally from Sand Bags To Go.

3. Prepare for different scenarios. You might remain in your home after a disaster or evacuate to a safer location. “Families should pay close attention to and heed evacuation orders from local officials to determine if they can safely stay in their homes or need to go to a safer location,” Chapman-Henderson said. You can better prepare for either scenario by assembling a disaster supply kit that includes three to seven days worth of food and water per family member, cash as ATMs may not be open for many days, a manual can opener, extra required medication, a battery powered radio, First Aid kit, supplies for any pets and flashlights with extra batteries. Replace the water and food supplies every six-months.

4. Protect important documents. Store important family documents, including medical records, insurance papers, social security cards, deeds or mortgages, birth certificates and marriage certificates in a fire and water proof container, says Chapman-Henderson. She also suggests families can scan and keep electronic copies of important documents on a USB drive or as photos on a smartphone.

5. Know your zone. Dennis Feltgen is the Public Affairs Officer and a Meteorologist with NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. He says there are common mistakes to avoid when a hurricane warning is issued including “not knowing if you are located in an evacuation zone and not having a plan on where to go if you are in an evacuation zone.”

6. Get supplies before the hurricane hits. Don’t make the mistake says Feltgen, of searching for the supplies you’ll need once an evacuation order is given, otherwise “you must stand in long lines to get supplies that were readily available weeks ago—and may be gone now.”

7. Involve the whole family in the hurricane plan. Feltgen says, “The creation of a family hurricane plan should involve the entire family. Each member of the family should have a specific assignment in the creation and execution of the plan. For instance, one child could make sure there are batteries for the electronics, another would be in charge of bringing in the small outside furniture. By making it a family plan, the anxiety level is reduced.” Be sure to check FEMA’s website.

8. Don’t forget about pets. Feltgen says plan ahead and have several options for where not only you will go, but also your pets.

9. Practice caution after the hurricane is over. Remember, says Leslie Chapman-Henderson, that danger is still present even after the hurricane is over. She says avoid driving as roads may be blocked and watch for downed power lines. If your home has sustained damage, consider having it inspected by a professional before returning to it including checking that gas lines are not leaking, plumbing is working properly and there are no hazards from damaged trees or unwanted “guests” including rodents, snakes and insects that were blown or washed in by the storm.

Written by Kathleen Miller (source)

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