March 31, 2010
National Hurricane Center Director Launches Social Media Safety Campaign During 2010 National Hurricane Conference

(Orlando, FL) – National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read pledged today to “Dine in the Dark” on June 1st as he became the first to join the “Great Hurricane Blowout” (Blowout), a new campaign launched by the nonprofits Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc.-FLASH® and PLAN!T NOW. The Blowout, sponsored by Kohler and State Farm, is a first of its kind, layered social media campaign that will promote hurricane preparedness through the Internet and social media channels like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.

With a focus on fun and learning, celebrities like actor and PLAN!T NOW’s Co-founder, Morgan Freeman, and a host of experts like Ed Del Grande (aka “Ed the Plumber”) will move participants through six phases of safety and preparedness leading up to the start of hurricane season on June 1st. Along the way, participants will create personalized plans that answer important questions about evacuation, supply kits, home hardening, personal safety and more. Once individuals and families have their plans ready, they are encouraged to affiliate with a nonprofit and get trained to provide volunteer support in the event a hurricane hits their community.

The campaign rallying point is a pledge to join up and “Dine in the Dark”. Dine in Dark encourages individuals, families and the new crop of volunteers to turn off the lights on June 1st and prepare a meal by cooking up celebrity “power-free” recipes. This will allow participants to test drive the newly created disaster plans while keeping hurricane preparedness top-of-mind.

“We all know hurricane preparedness is important, but so many coastal residents have never experienced a hurricane. Many others deny that one would ever strike at all. The Great Hurricane Blowout offers ways to make hurricane preparedness an activity the whole family can embrace,” said Director Bill Read.

“We built the Great Hurricane Blowout because we are convinced that making safety fun and educational is our best chance to spark widespread preparation activity,” said FLASH President/CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “By bringing celebrities to volunteer with the campaign, our new partners at PLAN!T NOW are guaranteeing that it will be fun.”

According to PLAN!T NOW CEO Donna Lee, “We have worked for years to educate coastal residents about hurricanes and urge them to prepare themselves, their families and their homes. Working with FLASH has allowed us to broaden our reach and be a part of this truly innovative campaign.”

The campaign website,, displays an online counter of pledges, a count down clock for the start of the 2010 hurricane season and urges individuals can to “Join the Blowout and Breathe Easy” today.


The non-profit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. – FLASH® is a 501(c)3 collaboration of organizations dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disaster. Based in Tallahassee, FLASH is the nation’s fastest?growing disaster safety education organization with more than 100 partners including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot, International Code Council, National Weather Service, Renaissance Reinsurance, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, USAA and WeatherPredict Consulting, Inc. In 2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience; StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes®. To learn more about FLASH and access their free consumer resources, visit or call (877) 221-SAFE (7233).


PLAN!T NOW (P!N) is a non-profit organization that reduces the loss of life and property caused by hurricanes and severe storms by delivering cutting-edge preparedness research, education and communications programs. P!N provides individuals, organizations and communities in coastal regions information and resources to protect their families, homes, and businesses from the effects of these storms. P!N’s relief programs include scholarships to college students, rebuilding projects and micro-loans for storm-struck areas.

About Kohler

Kohler Power Systems is a division of Kohler Co., and provides complete power systems, including generators (residential, industrial, mobile and marine), automatic transfer switches, switchgear, monitoring controls, and accessories for emergency, prime power and energy-management applications. Kohler Power Systems has delivered energy solutions for markets worldwide since 1920.

About State Farm®

State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. State Farm’s 17,700 agents and more than 67,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – almost 79 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit® or in Canada®.