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NFPA is offering a Two-Day Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone Workshop (HIZ) at several U.S. locations in 2012. The curriculum is aimed at fire service professionals, urban and state foresters, developers, community planners, insurance professionals and others who are committed to understanding and learning about ways to reduce losses from these fires, and increasing wildfire risk awareness among residents and communities.


As part of the two-day course, the HIZ workshop incorporates NFPA 1141 , Standard for Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Wildland, Rural and Suburban Areas and NFPA 1144 , Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire as the basis for assessing these hazards and recommending appropriate mitigation measures to reduce damage and losses of homes, developments, communities and subdivisions.</p>

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As the Firewise Advisor for the Southwest Region (1), I was heartened to hear that the town of Julian (about an hour outside of San Diego, CA) wanted to participate in wildfire safety mitigation activities and when they called for my assistance, I immediately sprang into action. Last Saturday, in collaboration with Julian’s local CAL Fire Station 50, I spent four hours completing initial wildfire safety assessments in the first of many neighborhoods who will get involved: &#0160;Kentwood. It was wonderful to see both the neighborhood residents and local CAL Fire Station firefighters working together.


Once they learned about their wildfire risks from the findings of the assessment, homeowners were pleased to discover there were many action items they could do right away to make their community safer, and most importantly, they said, they no longer felt helpless! As we’ve come to learn, becoming a Firewise recognized community has its benefits. We’ve put together a list of the top 7 that we’ve heard from people all across the country. Check out the Firewise website and its “Benefits” page to read more about them. Which ones do you identify with? I think the residents of Julian will agree that “Benefit #4” was a source of pride for them all:


<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Community-Building</span>+
</strong>As neighbors get together to do Firewise work, often meeting one another for the first time, they build a stronger bond with each other. Firewise activity can help rally people to a common cause for the good of the neighborhood. This strengthening of community ties can benefit residents in many ways, and is especially helpful during an emergency.+

What are the benefits you’re seeing from working together? I applaud the efforts of the residents of Julian and I hope to hear more about their efforts in the near future!

-[Faith Berry |]


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