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2 Posts authored by: faithberry Employee

Across the United States, wildfire season has already begun in places we don’t normally think about.  In Kansas, the smoke from the 620-acre prairie blaze that started in Oklahoma could be seen from St. Louis, Missouri.

 

In Ohio, brush fires spread along a state turnpike in Lorraine County that was fueled by strong wind gusts of 28 to 35 miles per hour.

In Tennessee, 9 brush fires have been contained by the Tennessee Forestry Service with three more burning.  The warm temperatures have contributed to the fire season in the region.  According to an article by the WBIR news channel, Tips to protect your home in wildfire season, “The fire threatened four cabins, after wind blew a campfire out of control. Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson said if not for good maintenance of the rental properties, the buildings could have been lost.”  On the video, Watson talked about the importance of following Firewise principles as you maintain your home this spring season.

 

“It’s also important to keep flammable material out from underneath stilted buildings, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ben Franklin, one of the first volunteer firemen in Firewisenfpalogo500our country said that,” said Chief Watson. “That’s where we’re at, that’s what is important -- getting that word out.”

NFPA’s Firewise® program has some great tools to help you prepare, including no cost catalogue materials, online learning opportunities and the Firewise Toolkit.  Wherever you live you can be Firewise!

 

Read more about the fire that burnt 400,000 acres in Oklahoma and Kansas and how wildfires are burning in atypical areas across the US.

FEMA Disaster Dec

Looking at the FEMA issued map of disaster declarations for the last 50 years, I realized that there is a lot more work and research that needs to be accomplished to help communities be more resilient.  What does it mean to be resilient? From a NIST statement, it is; “The ability of a community to prepare for anticipated hazards, adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.”

 

The NIST report went on to state; "Over the last 10 years, natural disasters have caused, on average, $62 billion in damages and killed more than 550 people annually.  From 2011 to 2013, the federal government spent an estimated $136 billion on disaster relief." The message is a wake-up call for every community that we need to be better prepared to fare better in the event of a disaster.

Disaster Infographic

 

Wildfire is one event that can be prepared for predisaster.  According to a US Forest Service study, "Wildland fire and related natural disturbances continue to grow as major global threats to property, lives, and ecosystem integrity." The data from NIST state that more than 46 million homes and 77,000 communities in the US are at risk from wildfire.

 

So what can you do? Insurance industry leaders have looked at the data and recognized the value of living in a nationally recognized Firewise Community. NFPA's Firewise Communities program enables residents, firefighters, and community leaders have the information, education, and tools that they need to understand what their risk is and how they can best "mitigate" or work towards lessening their risk to loss from wildfire.  NFPA is currently offering two activities directed at residents and firefighters.

 

The first, National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, on May 7th and the second, FEMA funded Home Ignition Zone (HIZ) training for firefighters. These activities will give individuals the opportunity to learn about and implement wildfire preparedness principles. You can also refer to the Firewise website for success stories, no cost grant funded educational products, and tools that you will need to develop and grow your own nationally recognized Firewise Community.