Disaster Safety Leaders Call For Stronger High Wind Building Codes

As Moore, OK tornado anniversary approaches, focus turns toward new tornado building methods that can protect millions who live in harm's way

May 15, 2014, 09:00 ET from Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the anniversary of the May 20, 2013, deadly EF-5 Moore, Oklahoma tornado approaches, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® calls for other communities to follow in the footsteps of Moore leaders to better protect their residents.  The Moore tornado took 24 lives, injured 400 and damaged and destroyed nearly 2,400 structures.  In response, local officials adopted unprecedented, innovative and stronger building requirements.  The new Moore residential building code reflects the Dual-Objective-Based Tornado Design Philosophy, a landmark approach that defies the traditional assertions that you cannot affordably build homes to withstand tornadoes.

"We applaud local officials in Moore for their leadership in introducing tougher building practices that give families and homes a fighting chance to survive future tornadoes," said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson.  "Last year's devastation and recent outbreaks are somber reminders that status quo building practices in tornado alley are simply not good enough." 

A look at the number of people in the U.S. that were impacted by the potential of severe weather from the multi-day event beginning on Saturday, April 26 and continuing over a five day period, clarifies how building codes informed by the Dual-Objective-Based Tornado Design Philosophy and other innovations can benefit residents in harm's way.


Population Affected[1]

States Affected[2]

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas

Monday, April 28, 2014


Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

[1] Source: NWS Southern Region. Note: Combining all days would provide an inaccurate head count since many areas were impacted (overlapped) by the potential of severe weather on multiple days from this multi-day severe weather event.

[2] Source: NWS Southern Region.

The importance of strong building practices with a foundation of building codes informed by the most recent research and technology is examined in a recently published commentary co-authored by Chapman-Henderson, Building Codes: The Foundation for Resilience.  "Since we now know how to build to better save lives and property from tornadoes, we have an imperative to do so before the next storms strike."

Installing a safe room or storm shelter built to FEMA P-361 guidelines or the ICC/NSSA 500 standard can make a life or death difference.  A site-built safe room can also be constructed in accordance with the prescriptive designs found in FEMA P-320: Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business, which meets the FEMA P-361 guidelines and the ICC/NSSA 500 standard.

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® is the country's leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 120 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster‐resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council, Kohler® Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, RenaissanceRe, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm™, USAA® and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. In 2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® located at the INNOVENTIONS Attraction at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL.  Learn more about FLASH and its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233).


SOURCE Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)