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Molly recently shared an article with me about the efforts of rebuilding after the Fourmile Canyon fire in Colorado.  What struck me as interesting was, even after a significant fire event, the usual reasons for complacency still came up; economics, politics, fairness of regulations, etc. 

You can read the article and listen to an interview with a homeowner here:

One of the things that NFPA will be embark on in 2011 as part of our workplan is an analysis of the role regulations play in dealing with the WUI issue.  What is in place across the country, and how effective are those regulations in helping mitigate the problem?  Clearly land use and building regulations can play a key role in getting things done the "right" way from the beginning.  But what happens after that?  Do regulations help in compelling the homeowner to continue to be Firewise?  And what about this process of rebuilding after the fire?  Does one set of requirements work in all areas or do the regulations have to be "politically palatable" for acceptance in a given area?

Let us know what you think and share your successes and stumbles when it comes to using regulations as part of your tool kit in helping make communities Firewise.


FPHCD08 Fifty education sessions in four tracks, speakers who work directly with NFPA codes, dynamic luncheon speakers, compelling post-conference seminars, and a few days in sunny Orlando. What more could you ask for, right? Well, we're sweetening the pot a little bit more.

Register today and you'll receive a free copy of NFPA's 20th edition Fire Protection Handbook® on CD - a $245 value! All registered attendees for this event will be able to pick up their CD at the conference registration desk at the Hilton in the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Conference sessions at our Fire & Life Safety Conference will be taught by NFPA staff and technical committee members who work directly with the codes. With four comprehensive tracks -- Building & Life Safety, Codes & Standards, Fire Suppression, and Detection & Alarm -- you can increase your understanding of the latest codes that relate to you. You'll also get unique and in-depth perspectives from our dynamic keynote luncheon speakers on emerging industry topics.

We're also offering a 2-day post-conference seminar (Dec. 16-17) focused on sprinkler hydraulics, and a 1-day seminar (Dec. 16) on fire protection concepts and analysis for property loss prevention.

So what's the Fire Protection Handbook all about? Pop this CD into your computer and you'll gain instant access to authoritative data on every aspect of fire protection: 3,500 pages of vital information written by 254 leading experts. It's all here: tables, graphs, illustrations, the latest research and proven strategies, plus 25 first-time chapters on timely topics such as premises security, protecting against extreme events, flammability hazard of materials, and strategies for occupant evacuation during emergencies.

So don't delay - register for the Orlando conference today and you'll soon have the power of NFPA's Fire Protection Handbook in your corner.

- Mike Hazell

Ember shower I had the pleasure this week of spending a few days in Tampa, Florida where I attended the annual Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) conference.  This year’s theme, “Fortified Nation,” focused on the benefits of building stronger structures and stronger communities to increase resiliency against disasters.

A major topic included the unveiling of IBHS’ new 20,000+ square foot disaster research and training facility.  Located on a 90-acre parcel of land in Chester County, South Carolina, this lab is designed to test the strength of homes and light commercial structures against the perils of hazards.  Although initial tests focused on wind conditions tested against a house, future research will be geared toward the understanding of wildfire.  The facility plans on creating a wildfire scenario to test how embers ignite a house.  Cameras will record, for example, how leaf debris on the roof may catch fire after a flying ember lands on it, or how embers can enter through vents and begin burning the home’s interior. 

Capturing this on video will be a great educational tool for homeowners to learn and understand Firewise concepts and the science that the program is built on.  Look for more information next spring as research gets underway!

-Molly Mowery

I love lists, don't you? Here's a short and sweet set (based on our best science and research, of course) to take home and use.

  1. Homes that don’t ignite don’t burn. Start with your home and work your way out to make it more fire-resistant.
  2. Pay attention to the little things. Embers on roofs, gutters, decks, porches can burn homes down. Clear debris from these areas.
  3. If it’s attached to the house, it’s part of the house.  Clear debris from fences and decks; replace with nonflammable options if you can.
  4. Keep flames from touching your home. Make a 3-to-5-foot fuel-free space on all sides of your house and attachments.
  5. Screen test: openings or vents should have nonflammable, small-diameter screening to keep embers from entering and igniting your home.

As we all know Hollywood has a way of sensationalizing just about everything-including fires.  But every once in a while they actually get things right and come up with something that will engage the viewing public and actually get an important message out to them.

Keith Worley, a Firewise proponent for several communities in Colorado and a member of our Division advisory committee, recently sent us a link to a segment filmed for the DIY Network series Disaster House.  Keith, along with the Castle Rock Colorado Fire Department and the Douglas County Colorado Office of Emergency Management, had the opportunity to "burn down a house" while discussing the risks associated with wildfire and the measures homeowners can take to help protect their home.  There is a very interesting demonstration of the use of foam to help protect the structure. 

The segment can be viewed at this link:

In typical Hollywood style, the piece is very sensationalized, and I think Keith and the rest of the crew had way too much fun with this.  But the messages portrayed as to what a homeowner can do are accurate and useful.  Take a look, and hopefully you might find some use in your Firewise messaging that may help reach the general public and compel them to take action. 

I wonder where NFPA can get a Megasaurus?


I like it when I get email that makes my blog posts easier, and gives me my big smile for the day. Here's a note from Larry Hinkle, President of the Awbrey Glen Homeowners Association in central Oregon, passed on to me by Bend Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Gary Marshall:

Awbrey Glen Homeowners,
We would like to take this opportunity to Thank You for participating in the Firewise cleanup project that took place in 2010.  The response was outstanding.
The Spring 2010 Clean-up the Glen program removed more that 1,070 cubic yards of combustible material from Awbrey Glen.  The Fall program, just completed, removed another 420+ cubic yards.  The total volume of material removed from Awbrey Glen was more that 1,490 cubic yards.  Last year, using the dumpsters in the parking lot program, we were able to remove only 420 cubic yards.  To sum up this year, we were able to remove an additional 1,000 plus cubic yards of material from the Glen, or 3.6 times more by using the Drive Through and Pick-up Program. Final good news is that our Association costs for the 2010 program were less than the 2009 program.
In 2011 we will again use the Drive Through and Pick-up Program, however because of the large cost savings we will require that all loose material such as pine needles and brush cuttings be bagged, rather than just piled roadside.  Tree limbs, dead trees that can be chipped-up will again be road side collected.  
The Fire Committee, chaired by Linda Stump, and Brown Thompson, Board representative, spent many hours organizing and completing this project for 2010. The Board would like to Thank them for their time and efforts on behalf of the Awbrey Glen Homeowners Association.  
Planning has already started for the Spring Cleanup.  Firewise Certification will continue for 2011.
Thank you for helping to keep Awbrey Glen a beautiful and Firewise place to live.
Now if that doesn't warm your heart, what does?

-Michele Steinberg

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