Natural disasters can impact any of us, anywhere, at any time. Over the past decade, the financial toll in the United States alone exceeded $100 billion — and the loss of life and emotional toll is immeasurable. Worldwide, more than 20,000 people died in natural disasters last year.

This past Sunday, May 8, a new exhibit on how to reduce the impact of natural disasters opened at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., the nation’s premier cultural institution celebrating architecture, engineering and design. Among those featured in the exhibit – Designing for Disaster – is Dr. Kit Miyamoto, CEO of Miyamoto International, head of the non-profit Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief and a California Seismic Safety Commissioner. The exhibit asks fundamental questions about why we build where we build and how, while also looking at disaster mitigation and resiliency as an evolving science. It looks at all the innovative things people are doing to help save lives. Take, for instance, the video of an Alabama couple who built a tornado safe room in their home that saved their lives and those of their children in an EF-4 twister in 2011.

Through unique objects, graphics and multimedia presentations, the exhibit explores new solutions for a range of natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and other severe storms. Visitors can explore the tools available to help them evaluate and mitigate their own risks and will learn how to get involved in disaster-planning efforts in their own communities. If you’re in Washington, D.C. between now and August, please visit the museum, which is just off the National Mall, and let us know what you learned and how you’ve prepared. We’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek of the video above on display at the museum featuring Dr. Miyamoto discussing how we at Miyamoto International and the non-profit Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief are working to make the world a better – and safer – place. It is possible!

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