Last House Standing™ … Edu-tainment, App-style

Jay Hamburg, FLASH Consumer Writer

Many of us know that where and how we build is a critical factor to surviving disasters, and now the new, fun, and free app from FLASH is spreading that message to players of all ages.

FLASH designed the engaging and informative Last House Standing (LHS) game with inspiration from research such as FEMA’s Preparedness in America report on public preparedness and perceptions. The report showed that 58% of 18 to 34-year-olds surveyed failed to recognize disaster safety as a priority. Survey respondents said they needed information, but did not know “where to begin” to become protected and resilient in the face of natural disasters.

Last House Standing solves that problem with a fun, fast-paced game. Each player starts with a budget of $100,000 and has three minutes to choose from many building parts and design pieces to create the best blend of great style and disaster resistance. After building your home, the game tests your design against hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and more.

“Our goal is to introduce players to the idea that their choices help determine their level of disaster resilience,” said FLASH President and CEO, Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “The app does this by wrapping serious options about whether to build using a code or other strengthening features like metal connectors inside dozens of fantasy options from space domes to yurts. With only three minutes and a $100,000, players have to think fast to survive the disasters, but they learn that it can be done.”

Players also choose the locale of their home, which means they need to be aware of which natural disasters are most likely to affect the area. FLASH worked with many partners and volunteers to create a game that’s inviting, exciting, and provides easy-to-understand lessons about the importance of design and location in creating a safe, resilient home.

“With more than one hundred feature choices and millions of potential outcomes, the game will keep every audience engaged,” said former Walt Disney Imagineer and FLASH Board Member, Joe Tankersley. “In today’s crowded app world, serious games have to be informative and fun. FLASH has accomplished this with Last House Standing.”

Last House Standing is available for free on both iPhone and iPad here, and in Google Play here. LHS requires iOS 7.0 or later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. While the app is optimized for iPad 4 and later, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, it will operate on older models.

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.

Hurricane Irene Flood Cleanup Tips

In response to ongoing flooding from Hurricane Irene, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers the following cleanup and safety tips for families returning to flooded homes:

Insurance Tips

  • Damage from floods is typically only covered by flood insurance.
  • Take extensive photos and video for insurance claims.
  • If you need evidence of damaged items, remove them from the home and save swatches (carpet, curtains, etc.) for your insurance adjuster.

Structural Considerations

  • Check for building stability before entry; sticking doors at the top may indicate a ceiling at risk of collapse.
  • Take pictures of damage throughout the building and around the property. Assess stability of plaster and drywall. Bulging or swelling ceilings indicate damage. Press upward on drywall ceilings. If nail heads appear, drywall will need to be re-nailed but can be saved.
  • Check foundation for any loose or missing blocks, bricks, stones or mortar.
  • Empty basement water at a rate of about one-third per day to avoid structural damage to foundation by rapid pressure change.
  • To avoid warping, dry all wood doors by removing from hinges, lying flat with wood shims between and allowing to air dry completely. Remove all knobs and hardware first and disinfect.
  • Remove wet drywall and insulation well above the high water mark.

Home Air Quality Considerations and Mold Prevention

  • Clean and disinfect heating, air conditioning and ventilation ducts before use to avoid spread of airborne germs and mold spores.
  • Use fans and sunlight to dry out interior spaces.
  • Remove all wet carpets, curtains and fabrics. Allow to air dry completely.
  • Wash and disinfect all surfaces including cupboard interiors, doors, walls, window sills and tracks with a solution of one-half cup of bleach or bleach alternative to two gallons of water. Remove sliding doors and windows before cleaning and disinfecting the sliders and the tracks.
  • Clean and disinfect concrete surfaces using a mixture of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water. Mix according to manufacturer’s directions and apply to entire surface.
  • Remove wallpaper and coverings that came into contact with floodwaters. Don’t repaint or repair until drying is complete and humidity levels in the home have dropped.

Cleanup Tips

  • Liquid cleaners can remove mud, silt and greasy deposits. Liquid detergents work on washable textiles. Use diluted bleach or bleach alternative if item is safe for bleach.
  • To avoid growth of microorganisms, household items should be dried completely before they are brought back into the house. Although the drying process can take a long time, homeowners should be patient because it is necessary to keep a home’s air quality healthy. Some household items may take longer than others to dry such as upholstered furniture and carpets.
  • The National Archives Website has information on how to clean your family treasures. Although it may be difficult to throw certain items away, especially those with sentimental value, experts recommend that if you can’t clean it, you should dispose of it, especially if it has come into contact with water that may contain sewage.