In the month following the devastating loss of two wildland firefighters in Florida in late June, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Florida Forest Service issued a report outlining the findings and future recommendations based on a review conducted after the Blue Ribbon Fire. You can read the article that highlights the results of the report here. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention NFPA’s stand on firefighter safety. Check out NFPA’s codes and standards section on the website, and in particular NFPA 1584: Standard on the Rehabilitation Process for Members During Emergency Operations and Training Exercises, which addresses this issue.
And there’s something more going on. While these recommendations don’t pertain to us directly as ordinary (non-firefighter) citizens, the idea that all of us have a role to play in keeping our communities and homes safer, does.
According to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, “The men and women of the Florida Forest Service have one of the most important jobs keeping our families and our homes safe from the dangers of wildfire. We must do what we can to help keep them safe, too.”
Patrick Mahoney echoes this sentiment. Patrick is our southern region Firewise Advisor and fellow Florida Division of Forestry firefighter and wildfire mitigation specialist. In a recent blog post about the incident, he so eloquently writes that homeowners and community members can (and should) do our part to protect our houses and property, and by doing so, will help firefighters do their job safely and without incident.
This tragic loss is a serious reminder of the many people who are directly affected by wildland fires. It’s time we all take a hard look at the rate, locations and intensity of these fires that are continuing to spread across the country… and take action. No one is immune anymore.
As history tells us, getting a job done together is certainly a lot easier (and maybe even more productive) than doing it on your own. Just a few short hours a day can make a world of difference to us personally and to those who fight these fires and work tirelessly to keep us safe.
Visit our website for tips you can use around your home. But don’t stop there. Talk to your neighbors, start a conversation with like individuals on our social media platforms, make a plan TOGETHER and...GET INVOLVED. The sooner we band together against wildfires, the safer we will all be.