NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division provides information and resources through the Firewise Communities Program and Fire Adapted Communities initiative (both co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service), education, training, conferences, workshops and courses to communities in high risk areas to help residents reduce their risk of wildfire damage to homes and property.
The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA, established in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.
Black Forest Fire, June 11, 2013 (Photo Credit: AP)
In less than two weeks community leaders, elected officials and fire agency leaders will gather in Glenwood Springs, CO from April 16 - 17 to explore the true cost of wildfires and the short and long-term impacts of a large wildland fire.
Sessions will include discussions about Fire Adapted Communities (FAC), land-use planning, community wildfire protection plans, managing wildfire hazards, and success and failures in utilizing incentives, regulations and policies. Peter M. Brown, Director, Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research in Fort Collins, CO will be the keynote presenter.
“This conference is an absolute must for policymakers and practitioners interested in seeing the big picture related to wildland fire impacts. The presentations and discussions will elevate attendees understanding of economic, community, land use and policy implications of wildfires from the local and national perspectives and provide real-world solutions for preparing communities for the next wildfire threat,” says Molly Mowery, member of the Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) Learning Network Leadership Team.
In addition to impactful presentations there will be invaluable opportunities to network with fire agency leaders, research scientists, elected officials, and NGO’s. For more information and to register visit www.wildfire-colorado.com.
Fire departments around the country have eagerly awaited the most recent update to the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) developed by the Insurance Services Office. This system classifies communities according to performance in emergency communications, fire response and suppression and water supply, and has provided these ratings to insurers for more than 30 years. Insurance companies purchasing this data use it to develop underwriting practices – so improved ratings can lead to lower insurance premiums for homes and businesses in many instances.
What’s new with this long-awaited revision? First, ISO is referencing many more NFPA codes and standards than in the past. This means that as the NFPA documents are revised, the rating schedule will be revised – a great way to ensure that the ratings keep up with new technology and changing practices. Communities all over the US will also be happy to learn that for the first time, they can earn “extra credit” – up to 5.5 points – for demonstrating fire prevention, education and investigation programs. In other words, the ratings – and thus many insurance companies – will begin to account for fire mitigation programs in a quantifiable and creditable way.
NFPA has developed a resource list of all the codes and standards referenced in ISO’s rating schedule, along with a wealth of resources for fire departments and communities to consider when updating or initiating fire prevention and education programs. Check www.nfpa.org/iso for a list with links to each standard and much more on Firewise®, Learn Not to Burn®, Remembering When® and other fire prevention tools that might give your community a leg up on improving its fire safety ratings.
"Among the things I (have) learned is that the best way to hear how residents connect with preparedness messages is to sit down with them at a local diner and listen," says Lucian Deaton, in his first Wildfire Watch column since joining NFPA in November 2013.
According to Lucian, when we ask, residents will often share with us why they live in their community, what their environment and community mean to them, and how they want to play a part in the wildland fire solution. Food for thought for all of us who continually work on crafting wildfire safety messages and provide education, training and resources for residents across the country.
Read more about Lucian's experiences in the March/April 2014 issue of NFPA Journal and discover how, by simply talking with our neighbors, we can learn even more about the value of listening and the role it plays in creating safer communities for all.
Last week following the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day live webinar, one of our virtual attendees reached out to share a fairly new and little known resource that’s available to every wildland/urban interface resident and community, and also to first responders and recovery personnel following a wildfire.
Within a few minutes of talking with Joe Samalin, the Outreach Manager for the Disaster Distress Helpline, I knew their free services would be a valuable tool for many. The Disaster Distress Helpline’s goal is to provide toll-free multilingual crisis counseling and support to individuals in distress from natural and man-made disasters and help them move forward on the path of recovery. Helpline and text services are available year-round, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week and are staffed by trained crisis counselors.
You’ll find their website has a plethora of information that we often hear people needing and wanting following a wildfire. A quick visit to the site and you’ll want to add the information to your toolkits and website. Services are federally funded and administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Join your neighbors and colleagues and make an invaluable contribution to wildfire preparedness on May 3, 2014 - apply for a $500 neighborhood project funding award to implement a project that reduces the risk of wildfire, the impact(s) of a recent wildfire, or advances preparedness efforts at the local level. Project funding generously provided by State Farm Insurance. Visit the website to apply and while you're there check out the promotional resources.
As the buzz grows about the first national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, I can easily envision the creative wheels busily turning at fire departments, forestry agencies and Firewise Communities everywhere, as they start planning inspiring activities for their May 3, 2014 events.
We constantly learn about innovative ideas being implemented to engage residents in reducing their wildfire risk, and I’m positive we’ll be awed this spring when success stories are told and retold about community accomplishments, and the resulting social capital.
Invest 45 minutes on Tuesday, February 25 at 10am MST and discover what can be achieved on May 3 in your community! Here’s the adobeconnect link, add it to your calendar now, and join others throughout the nation making their communities a safer place. Visit www.WildfirePrepDay.org for more information.
This two-day workshop, led by Pat Durland, Stone Creek Fire, LLC, provides a basic understanding of fire behavior and structure ignition from wildfires and increases your understanding of WUI fire mitigation. The workshop also provides a solid understanding of safety measures and standards specifically focusing on NFPA 1144 and NFPA 1141.
Dates are Sunday, March 16 and Monday, March 17, 2014.