Federal Alliance for Safe Homes® Launches ‘A Tale of Two Homes’ – Tornado Video: One Family’s Personal Account of How Safe Rooms Save Lives

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Harrison family emerged unscathed from their tornado safe room following a devastating EF-4 tornado that killed hundreds last April in Athens, AL.

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“Tornado safe rooms save lives. The Harrison family’s experience is a perfect example,” says Leslie Chapman Henderson, President and CEO of FLASH.

Today, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes(FLASH®) launched the latest in its successful educational Tale of Two Homes video series: A Tale of Two Homes – Tornado. The video tells the remarkable story of the Harrison family of Athens, AL, who survived an EF-4 tornado that completely destroyed their home and most others in their neighborhood. The Harrison’s and their two children emerged unscathed from their tornado safe room shortly after the tornado passed. As a result, they have chosen to share their story of survival to further spread the message -- safe rooms save lives.

A Father’s Decision to Build a Safe Room Saves His Family

Kevin and Sarabeth Harrison are convinced that they and their two young children are alive today thanks to the safe room they consciously decided to build into the corner of their garage. Made of reinforced concrete block, the family took refuge as a tornado devastated their neighborhood and surrounding areas – killing 250 people in its path. The Harrisons are still shocked to recall how 30 seconds of roaring winds forever altered the lives and landscape of their community. “The tornado ran right on top of us,” Kevin Harrison said.

“Tornado safe rooms save lives. The Harrison family’s experience is a perfect example,” says Leslie Chapman Henderson, President and CEO of FLASH. “Their decision to take their safety into their own hands and build a safe room undoubtedly protected them from serious injury and possible death when the tornado hit Athens April 27, 2011. Their willingness to share their story to encourage other families to build safe rooms makes them true heroes of the disaster safety movement.”

Give an Ordinary Room an Extraordinary Purpose

A safe room can provide ultimate life safety protection from the dangerous forces of severe winds and tornadoes. Homeowners can build or retrofit the interior spaces of their homes to safe-room standards or choose to purchase pre-fabricated safe rooms designed to withstand tornado-force winds. Closets, bathrooms, laundry rooms and outdoor rooms like garden sheds and pool houses can be enhanced to serve as safe rooms.

A properly built safe room not only protects families from high-wind events, it also creates a multi-use space in the home that adds to its value. According to Chapman-Henderson, tornado safe rooms increase the sale price of a home by 3.5 percent or an average of $4,200.

“Anyone who installs a tornado safe room in their home is able to recoup almost all of their investment when they sell,” says Chapman-Henderson. “The price of a safe room can start around $3,500 to $4,000 depending on its size and built-in amenities. “A $5,000 tornado safe room will provide an 84 percent return on investment,” she adds.

Visit http://www.flash.org to see “A Tale of Two Homes -- Tornado.”

Safe Rooms Are Just Part of the Story

In addition to the new video, FLASH offers useful tips and consumer information on how to protect your home home and your family from tornadoes and other natural and manmade disasters. Visit http://www.flash.org.

FLASH also recently launched a new 3D animated app, StormStruck®, which is available in the Apple App Store for the iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch. Users create an intense windstorm with a simple swipe of a finger and observe in realistic 3D animation the kind of damage it can do to an average home. A variety of upgrades than then be chosen that protect the home and enable it withstand high winds. Users quickly learn that everything from garage doors to roof connectors can change the fate of the home and increase its chance of survival.

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 100 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster-resistant nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council®, Kohler Power Systems, National Weather Service, 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® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting http://www.flash.org or calling (877) 221-SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are always well protected from natural and manmade disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.

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