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Learn what you need to know at a Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Symposium in San Marcos, Texas on September 20. The Austin/San Antonio Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and the Texas Forest Service are jointly hosting this event to help educate building and fire safety professionals on wildland fire and safety in the built environment.

The program will feature presentations by Dr. Steve Quarles of IBHS, Michele Steinberg of NFPA's Firewise Communities Program, Justice Jones with Texas Forest Service and Tonya Hoover, California State Fire Marshal, among others. They'll be discussing:

  • Wildland fire safety codes and standards
  • Innovations in wildfire response
  • Community wildfire preparation tools and technology
  • Fuel-type modeling for WUI fire risk
  • Firewise resources
  • Home ignition research and testing
Fire service personnel, building officials, architects, engineers, planners, community leaders...and all with an interest in wildland-urban interface fire safety are welcome to attend!

For more information and registration details, visit the SFPE Austin/San Antonio Chapter meeting page here.

NFPA is now accepting proposals for educational presentations at its 2013 NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago, June 10-13, 2013. We invite you to share your knowledge with your peers as a presenter. Please complete our online application and submit by Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm EDT.

Submissions emphasizing a specific product, process or manufacturer will not be considered. NFPA will review all presentation proposals. Selections will be made based on quality, relevance, focus, practical application, and on the presenter’s experience and credentials.

If your proposal is accepted, you will be required to submit a handout. Continuing education credits (CEUs) will be awarded for all education sessions. More details.

2012FPW120x240As a way to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Fire Prevention Week has been observed since 1922 during the week that encompasses the date of October 9.  Although Chicago has the best-known fire on that date– the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin also started on that very same day.  It was the most devastating forest fire in American History with 16 towns destroyed; 1,152 people killed and 1.2 million acres scorched.  So at least in my mind - Fire Prevention Week is a commemoration of both an urban conflagration and a wildland fire.

The types of activities that occur during Fire Prevention Week have evolved over the past ninety years; and today it’s become a time when fire departments across the nation organize educational events and activities that highlight their year-round commitment to fire safety.

In the wildland fire education venue – there’s often an unspoken opinion that Fire Prevention Week doesn’t pertain to wildland fire outreach efforts and we let it pass us by.  This year, I challenge wildfire educators everywhere to embrace Fire Prevention Week and piggyback on the top-of-mind awareness prevalent during that time period.  Take full advantage of the high-level interest around fire safety topics and the corresponding messaging on both local and national levels. This year’s campaign theme is “Have 2 Ways Out” – and it focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.  It’s a theme that easily fits into “both worlds” of fire safety education.     

Since fall is the season for all things football, look at Fire Prevention Week using this analogy…neither the AFC or the NFC would train year-round and then intentionally forego the Super Bowl; so why would wildland fire educators not make a play during the longest running public health and safety observance on record?

Think of it this way - Fire Prevention Week is the Super Bowl for all fire safety education and outreach.  Get in the game and score some points in your community!

To access free Firewise materials and resources visit  Get more information from NFPA on this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign including details on how you can participate in an online registry that brings fire departments and community members together to support fire safety education programs

Cathy Prudhomme

The federal Bureau of Land Management has announced the availability of grants to eligible Colorado entities for community wildfire protection planning and hazardous fuel reduction.

Eligible applicants typically include municipalities, nonprofit groups and academic institutions. The grant ceiling is $35,000 and there is a 10% non-federal match requirement to obtain the funds. 

Deadline for application is September 11, 2012. Visit the site here for the synopsis, the full announcement, and the application form.

--Michele Steinberg

LEGO NFPANFPA seeks firefighters who live in (or will be visiting) Florida to volunteer to promote fire safety and reinforce the fire safety messages in “The Big Test” during the months of September and October 2012.

NFPA is the official sponsor of "The Big Test", an acrobatic, comedy show in which a cast of real characters goes through a series of hysterical antics as they try to become firefighters. While their approach is slapstick and audience members may find themselves on the wrong end of a stream of water, there are important fire safety messages imparted along the way. The key fire safety messages in the show are to make sure you have working smoke alarms and develop and practice your escape plan.

The show runs four times a day at the LEGO® City Stage. Firefighter volunteers will be asked to be on hand at the LEGO City Stage at the beginning and end of each showing of The Big Test to hand out safety material and interact with the guests.

In return for volunteering, NFPA will give each firefighter three tickets to LEGOLAND FL for use either that day or another day good thru the end of 2012.

Please email with the Fridays that you would be willing to help out!

NPR of Arizona professor Tom Swetnam examines a tree sample at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research in Tucson, Ariz. Swetnam's research focuses on understanding how forest fires are influenced by climate change. David Gilkey/NPR

Most days I try to prioritize my email inbox – some make it into the” must open right away” category, others into the “by the end of day category”, and some into the “if I ever have spare time” category.  Today I received one from a wildland firefighter friend with “NPR Wildfire Series” in the subject line. This is a friend who doesn’t ever send random junk mail, so while I ate my brown bag lunch at my desk I decided to open his email – mainly because I never hear from him.  The only thing written in the body of the email were these words, “YOU’LL LIKE IT!” and a link to the story he was suggesting I look at on the National Public Radio website.

So with a recommendation like that I spent the next few minutes eating my boring lunch totally absorbed in a four-minute video that accompanied the first of a five-part series on wildfires.  After watching the video I’ve added to my Bucket List a meeting and tour with University of AZ Professor Tom Swetnam at his lab tucked away underneath the university’s football stadium.

Watch the video and read the accompanied article from the series first installment and later today the video and article from the second part of the series “Why Forest-Killing Megafires are the New Normal” can be accessed. I can attest that it will be a great accompaniment to tomorrow’s meatloaf sandwich!

-Cathy Prudhomme

Last week I had the privilege of participating in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) wildland/urban interface (WUI) fire research needs workshop led by WUI Fire Group program manager, Nelson Byner. Thirty one subject matter experts from all across the United States and from diverse fields, including fire service, research, advocacy, forestry, policy, planning and building, assembled at the NIST research laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. 

Given the gravity of this growing WUI fire problem there is a particular necessity to identify and understand the measurement needs for the implementation of technical solutions for fire resistant wildland-urban interface communities.  It was to this end that this facilitated meeting took place; with the primary purpose of identifying research needs and establishing research priorities to improve the fire resistance of communities to WUI fires. 

The meeting was initiated by presentations from several participants that provided context to the facilitated brainstorming and critical analysis that followed. One of the more interesting presentations was made by Brett Lacey, the Colorado Springs Fire Department Fire Marshal. Brett described the events that took place during the Waldo Canyon Fire conflagration that the city of Colorado Springs experienced recently, where 345 structures were destroyed and a further 47 structures were damaged. 

It was very gratifying to learn that the community of Cedar Heights a nationally recognized Firewise Communities/USA® site was completely saved due to extensive mechanical fuel (vegetation) reduction efforts on land that surrounded the community.  Based on the initial post fire damage assessment of the area that was legitimately threatened, 82% of the residences/structures were saved.  This interesting side of this tragic story is a testament to the hard work of the Colorado Springs Fire Department and community members with their ongoing commitment to wildfire mitigation.  According to Brett Lacey one of the more significant observations was the negative impact that cedar fencing played in fueling the fire through spotting caused by firebrands from this material.  Another observation was the prevalence of structure failure due to combustible roofing material.  The good news is the city of Colorado Springs has a regulatory ordinance in place that requires Class A roofing material be used for any future roof replacement home projects.  According to Christina Randall, Colorado Springs Wildfire Mitigation Section Manager in the coming months FEMA will be publishing a detailed economic report on this fire. 

For more information on Colorado Springs Wildfire Mitigation program please check out this map.   This interactive resource is a wonderful planning, communication and motivation tool that helps the community identify where future fire risk mitigation work is required and what has been accomplished.

Image 1
Image 1
: Colorado Springs Fire Department Wildfire Mitigation Interactive Map (click on map to access the website.

Upon completion of the presentations the group was broken up in to three smaller groups where facilitated discussions on specific areas related to the WUI fire problem were discussed and critically analyzed.  The net outcome was an identification and prioritization of research needs; the proceedings of which will be made available early September this year. 

Image 2
Image 2
: Dr. Steve Quarles from the Institute of Business and Home Safety presents breakout group findings to the rest of the workshop participants as a part of the facilitated discussion process.

-Hylton Haynes


As much of the country struggles with high heat, unending drought conditions, high winds and lightening storms, there are more wildfires than ever before popping up in states all across the U.S. As a result, fire service resources are being stretched thin. Hylton Haynes, a Firewise associate project manager, recently sat down with Pulse Network to talk about NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program and what we, as individual homeowners and neighbors can do to help lessen our risk for wildfire damage to our homes and neighborhoods. 

What you do today can make a difference tomorrow.  Watch Hylton’s video to learn more.

The wildfire safety message is active throughout many fire-prone communities around the world. Countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada have developed outreach programs and messages similar to Firewise, which advocate wildfire mitigation activities for homeowners and communities.

The Firewise team here at NFPA supports these countries to help expand their programs to reduce the impact of wildfire to communities around the world. Michele Steinberg has been in New Zealand for the past several weeks attending conferences, presenting to groups on the benefits of Firewise, and visiting communities who have worked to prepare for wildfire. 

As a result of her visit, the word is getting out in the community! Two recent articles have been published. The first, below, was in the Southland Times on August 14th. The second, was published on the same day in the Nelson Mail titled, "Manage fire risk - experts." Give both a read when you get a chance!

Southland Times

Fire BreakThe August issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s wildland fire newsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you’ll find:

  • An article that highlights how the growing number of homes being built in the WUI is contributing to an increased wildfire risk
  • A link to the new Firewise toolkit
  • Information about the 2013 Backyards & Beyond conference “call for presentations”
  • An article about the effects drought has had on the 2012 fire season
  • An update on the long-term vision of the Fire Adapted Communities initiative

… And lots more!

Sign up today to receive Fire Break each month via e-mail. It's free and will keep you up to date on the latest news and information on mitigating your wildfire risk to take back to your communities, organization or fire house.

FW Toolkit
NFPA’s Firewise® Communities Program is proud to announce its new Firewise Toolkit is now available online! The Toolkit is a collection of Firewise resources in one easy-to-find place, designed for homeowners, fire service professionals, community leaders, members of the media and others seeking information about the Program.

The entire Toolkit or the individual documents can be downloaded and printed for meetings, presentations and for individual use, and serves as a valuable resource anytime you need important, easily accessible information. The Toolkit consists of the following:

  • Facts about NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program
  • A Guide to Firewise Principles
  • Firewise Tips Checklist for Homeowners
  • Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program Checklist
  • Guidelines for Spelling/Usage of Firewise
  • Guidelines for Using the Firewise/NFPA Logo

Find it on the “information and resources” page of the Firewise website, and start using your toolkit today!

Image - Gary

Hard scaped areas are best

Wildfire season is upon us here in the western United States now, with many wildfires burning in Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Washington, Oregon and California.  In many areas, triple digit daytime temperatures preheat and dry the vegetation on the ground which firefighters call ground fuels. In some instances, it just takes a spark from a vehicle, power line, fireworks, campfire or a lawn mower to start a major fire.  Those are the human caused fires, which can be prevented.  But what about the sources of fire ignition that we can’t prevent such as lightning? The last lightning storm that crossed my region less than two weeks ago in Oregon had over 3,000 down strikes starting numerous small fires with some of them growing to large conflagrations.  Firefighters do a great job attacking small fires before they become large, but statistics have shown that 2% of those fires that firefighters can’t control or extinguish become large fires, so big it takes weeks or in some instances months to control.  Sometimes you just have to wait for a change in the weather to get a handle on these large scale fires. The fact is, there simply is not enough trained firefighters and equipment to suppress or control these large fires.

Now here we are in mid August, about half way through the typical wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest with wildfires burning forests, damaging natural resources, consuming homes and threatening the safety to our public and firefighters.  Just this week, western governors have declared “States of Emergency” to activate additional funding for more firefighting resources.  The public and our wildfire incident commanders are nervous because more storms are on the way.  The public wants to know, what can they do to help?  Make some sandwiches for the firefighters?  Drop off some cool drinks? Put up a sign on the road saying, “Thank You Firefighters for Saving My Home”.  Believe me, the firefighters appreciate these kind words and refreshments, and more importantly the public support.  But if the public really wants to help firefighters, incident commanders and their home state’s financial situation, citizens can get involved before the fire strikes.  Whether you rent your home, buy your home or have a vacation property, you can make it easier for firefighters to defend your investment prior to the fire. 

How do you do this? When a brush fire or the ember shower from a nearby wildfire strikes your area, ask yourself:  are you prepared?  Is your investment, your property, your home, defendable for firefighters?  Look through the goggles of a firefighter as he or she is coming down the road in their fire engine.  What do they see … a fire spreading through a neighborhood quickly. They have several homes to protect and a limited amount of water and backup support.  The firefighter in charge knows safety is the first priority of their crew, so where do you think they might make a stand to save a home?  Will it be the home with the dead grass, dry brush and un-pruned trees right up against the wood fence, deck and wood covered roof of the home?  Or will the firefighters decide to park their engine in a wide driveway next to a home with pruned-up trees, a large manicured landscaped area around the entire home with cleaned up of dead vegetation? As a firefighter, you ask yourself, what is the safest scenario for me and my crew, and where can I do the most fire intervention with the limited suppression capabilities I have?

PhotoWildfire preparedness is often very simple and inexpensive for the majority of property owners. First, you can create a minimum 30-foot zone dubbed “defensible space” or as some call it “survivable space,” around all structures, which often can be done in a weekend.  The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise Communities Program is a great way to learn what you can do now, before the fire strikes, to reduce your risk or becoming a victim of wildfire.  Visit now to find out what prevention actions you can take to minimize the threat of a wildfire reaching your home.  Better yet, get your neighbors involved too!  What your neighbors do or don’t do on their property affects your home and property.  By starting a Firewise community, it gets your entire neighborhood involved, and if everyone participates you actually create a fire break in the fuel, whether it is the grass, brush and trees, or the urban fuel we built  (ie. the home and outbuildings). 

Get involved, be a sparkplug in your community.  Contact your local fire department, state fire agency or the Forest Service and tell them you want to become a Firewise community!  Remember, wildfire protection is not only the responsibility of government agencies but also individual property owners!  So what can you do now to help firefighters?  Visit, follow the Firewise principals to take action now, and order free educational materials to distribute door to door in your community!

-          Gary Marshall

NOTE:  Gary is an NFPA Regional Firewise Advisor for the Northwest, and a resident of central Oregon. He recently retired as the deputy fire chief in Bend, Oregon. 

Making Your Home More Fire Resistant is the title of a three-hour event hosted by Ramona West End Fire Safe Council on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Led by fire professionals, the event will be in the Ramona Library Community Room, 1275 Main St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. All are invited.

Lunch will be provided and door prizes will be given away. Because seating is limited, RSVP is requested.

Attendees will:

•Learn about Ramona’s fire history, emergency fire response, and fire prevention in Ramona from fire professionals.

•Learn how to enhance the survivability of your home by hardening your home and paying attention to the defensible space around your home.

•See what projects have been completed/are in process in Ramona.

Fire professionals scheduled to lead the discussion include:

•Clay Howe, Bureau of Land Management

•Burke Kremensky, CalFire/Ramona Fire Department

•Sid Morel, North County Fire Protection District

•Saul Villagomez, CalFire/Ramona Fire Department

•Faith Berry, Firewise/NFPA

For more information and to RSVP, contact Kristi Mansolf at or 760-445-8545.

Funding is provided by a National Fire Plan grant from the Bureau of Land Management through the California Fire Safe Council.

Wildfire Watch column
According to Molly Mowery in her latest NFPA Journal® Wildfire Watch column, belt-tightening budget cuts, record-breaking droughts, and expanding suburban development will put significant strain on WUI communities unless we do something to change current trends. Fortunately, she says, national agencies are taking serious action to correct this course, including focusing on creating fire adapted communities.

Read Molly’s latest column and learn how a Fire Adapted Communities approach is part of a long-term solution for 21st century WUI communities.

Firewise Baseball CapShow your support of Firewise and help promote wildfire safety with new products from Firewise Outfitters, our new online “general store.” Choose from baseball caps, t-shirts and banners, all available at a nominal price. Items can be ordered through the online Firewise catalog. Display your pride during Firewise Day activities, at meetings or even the local coffee shop!

Check out these and other Firewise products, and order yours today!

Plant Selector
The Eastern United Sates has experienced severe wildfire incidents over the last decade. Homeowners living in fire prone areas in this region need to be better informed about the role vegetation plays in the transfer of heat and the mechanism by which fire spreads.

The Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector can help you to make informed decisions related to selecting a plant for a particular location, growth habitat, fire performance, cultural requirements, and urban and utility adaptability. This plant selection database builds on the expertise of the Firewise, urban forestry, horticultural, and landscape architecture professions to collectively address fire safety and vegetation selection.

The Fire Performance Plant Selector is an easy-to-use, interactive website for selecting plants to help reduce fire risk in fire-prone areas and the Home Ignition Zone. The website includes approximately 500 commonly occurring trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and grasses of the Eastern United States. It was developed as a resource for urban foresters, Firewise professionals, community planners and homeowners, and uses a science-based system to rank the potential for a plant species to ignite, burn, and move fire across a landscape.

This website was designed for users who have knowledge of Firewise principles as well as for those who have knowledge of plant material. Users can conduct searches related to their specific site needs, plant characteristics and fire risk. Users can also generate factsheets, complete with plant photographs, and personalized plant lists. This information can then be exported into an Excel spreadsheet or Word document.

The Fire Performance Plant Selector can be easily expanded to include thousands of additional plants and serve as a catalyst to promote the need for increased research on the flammability of ornamental vegetation. In the near future, 500 new shrubs, herbaceous plants, and more Southern trees and shrubs will be added to the website.

Stay tuned during the coming weeks as the reporting capability on the site will be updated, new information will continue to be added, and the website moved to a new location:

We’re excited about this new tool; we hope you are, too! Let us know what you think.

Don’t live in the Northeast? You can find additional Firewise landscaping and plant lists for other states around the country by visiting the “research and guidance” section on the Firewise website.

-Heidi Wagner

FPW 2012 Quiz
We've developed a short quiz to test your fire safety knowledge as part of this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign! Take the quiz on our website and afterwards, continue to click through to see what the correct answers were to any you may have answered incorrectly. Also, be sure to share your results on Facebook and Twitter.

Take the Fire Prevention Week quiz now!

For further educational material and tip sheets on having two ways out, the leading causes of home fires, information about protecting your home and families with life-saving technologies, and the importance of home escape planning, visit the Fire Prevention Week website.

According to Oklahoma emergency officials, more than 93,000 acres have burned in fires across the state since Friday. To date, many of these fires have been contained or mostly contained, but the threat of continued wildfire activity remains high here during the next few weeks due to hot, dry and windy conditions.

Remember: it’s important to pay attention to notices posted by your local and state emergency officials as they monitor the fire situation. For instance, if you’re thinking about grilling outdoors or if vacation plans take you camping, limit your grilling use and lighting of campfires. When in the car, take care not drive or park your vehicles on dry grass, which can ignite from sparks under the vehicle.

The Firewise Communities Program provides additional simple steps that homeowners and residents can take to reduce the risk of homes becoming fuel for a wildfire. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation from underyour deck and within 10 feet of the house.
  • Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks, dry vegetation) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. If you have trees on your property, prune so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
  • Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
  • Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screen with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.

It’s important to recognize that the actions you take now can help you tomorrow. You can make a difference. Case in point: the community of Skiatook, OK. Thanks to all the mitigation work done by residents ahead of the fires, this FirewiseCommunities/USA site was spared major damage. Watch this news clip on “Tulsa News on 6”  and learn first-hand what they did.


We’re proud of all the wildfire preparation and mitigation work that many Oklahoma residents are doing right now. Did you know there are 37 active Firewise recognized communities in the state? See the list here. Your community can do the same! Our Firewise regional advisor and Firewise state liaison for Oklahoma can help you get started. Learn more about howto become a Firewise Communities/USA site, and prepare your neighborhood now before a wildfire strikes.

Want to take it one step further? The Fire Adapted Communities initiative is a great way to engage all members of a community to create a safer place to live. You can learn more about your role and the role of other community residents, and the steps your community can take to become fire adapted by visiting the website at

It's never too early to begin promoting Fire Prevention Week (FPW) in your community. The Braintree (MA) Fire Department displayed the official FPW poster during a recent parade. When do you begin promoting FPW in your community? We want to hear from you.

Camp Smokey 1

Soledad Holguin of the Bureau of Indian Affairs wrestles Smokey’s shovel from a Camp Smokey visitor.

Camp Smokey 3
Faith Berry, Regional Firewise Advisor for California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii hides behind a wonderful wooden Smokey Bear bench on display at Camp Smokey.

What a delightful experience I had to observe Camp Smokey at the California State Fair in Sacramento.  I was invited to observe the young adult volunteers and interns for the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs teach the fire prevention message to children of adults who told me they had participated as children.  Each child was issued a passport which was stamped inside of delightfully decorated mini buildings located in the “forested area” inside of the state fairgrounds. They learned about campfire safety, Firewise landscaping, stop drop and roll, and Smokey’s five rules. Over 14,000 children’s passports were issued last year.

The children squealed with delight when Cal Fire, fire personnel rang the bells at the mini fire station, announcing puppet show. The children and parents sat in a campground like setting, entertained by the enthusiastic young ambassadors for Camp Smokey.  Through songs and delightful puppet-infused stories reinforced all critical elements of the classrooms.  The children and their parents, laughed, stamped their feet and shouted out all of the correct answers.  What a delightful way to get the Fire prevention message out there!   The parents who had attended as children were telling me that they learned lessons at Camp Smokey that lasted a lifetime!

Firewise was there at Camp Smokey thanks to efforts from members of the firewise/NFPA team!  NFPA’s Public Education Division provided first nations materials “Remembering When” that were seen in the Bureau of Indian Affairs little red schoolhouse.  Firewise Community’s newest video featuring Jack Cohen and Gary Marshall the Firewise advisor for the Northwest (Examining Home Destruction in the Wildland/Urban Interface) and (Wildfire Preventing Home Ignition) were steamed continuously through the television in the tree that tired parents were watching as they waited for children to learn their lessons in each building.  Look on our website for your free copy of these DVD’s on our online NFPA Firewise Catalog!   

If you are interested in helping with Camp Smokey next year, contact Soledad Holguin Bureau of Indian Affairs at Remember you can make a difference in the outcome of the survivability in the event of wildfire!

-Faith Berry


Recently, NFPA kicked off a new program to help fire departments fund the purchase of life-saving fire safety educational materials. Sparky’s Wish List™:  Partnering for Fire-Safe Communities invites fire departments to create a free online wish list for Fire Prevention Week materials. Businesses and the public can fulfill departments’ wish lists and provide these critical educational materials for their communities.

"Fire safety education saves lives, but with current budget pressures, it’s hard for many departments to pay for a range of educational materials,” said Jim Shannon, NFPA president. "Sparky’s Wish List is designed to help close the gap between what fire departments can afford and what they need to educate on fire safety.”

Every year, fire departments in the United States respond to more than 350,000 home fires resulting in at least 2,500 deaths and more than 12,000 injuries.

The official launch of Sparky’s Wish List was held at the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis where thousands of firefighters were among the first to learn about the new site.

“Every year, we see fire-related injuries that might have been prevented if the victims had received fire safety tips, installed functioning smoke alarms or practiced an escape plan,” said Chief Brian Sanford, Indianapolis Fire Department who was among the first to sign up his department. “Our first line of protection is educating the community. Sparky’s Wish List will allow us to work with community members to provide these critical educational resources.”

Fire departments create a wish list by creating a profile and clicking the boxes to indicate the materials they need. Donors can purchase those materials by searching for their hometowns and opening their department’s registry. The materials will be sent directly to the fire department.

Visit Sparky's Wish List and follow step-by-step directions. Tools and resources are also available for departments to learn how to spread the word to the community and engage potential donors.

American Red Cross – Mile High Chapter Community Preparedness & Resiliency Manager Cari Wheat announced this week that, “Team Preparedness - a group of Denver area stakeholders with a mission of increasing citizen preparedness for all hazards, has created a thirty-minute video that highlights steps individuals should implement to prepare for disasters of all kinds, that can happen anytime and anywhere.”

The “Metro Voices” program features Colorado residents that were involved in the recent High Park Wildfire, Four Mile Canyon Wildfire, and the Windsor Tornado.  Through dozens of interviews individuals share their personal experiences of what they did and in some cases didn’t do, to prepare for the “event” that deeply impacted their lives.  Their moving stories will motivate others to take actions that may just well be the best time investment they’ll ever make. 

Coloradans can catch the segment every Thursday evening at 8 p.m. throughout August and September on thirty four public access cable channels (Channel 8); and can be viewed below:  

Never underestimate the power of firsthand experiences to convince others about the value of developing an emergency plan and the importance of practicing it to be prepared when disaster strikes. So this weekend ditch the plans to wash the car and paint the kitchen and instead watch this video with your family!

For more information on disaster preparedness visit Ready, Set, Go; Firewise; and the American Red Cross


BYB blog
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) will host its 5th Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, November 14 – 16, 2013, and is now accepting proposals for educational presentations.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their proposals online by Monday, December 31, 2012. The 2013 conference themes include:

  • Community Safety      Approaches and Strategies
  • Home Construction &      Landscape Design
  • Research (Physical,      Social, Ecology and Environmental)
  • Technology, Policy &      Regulations
  • Wildfire      Planning, Suppression & Operations

For those of you who haven’t attended this conference before, the event provides a unique opportunity to build relationships and explore key issues regarding wildland fire. You’ll also learn about the latest tools and resources that communities are using to help prepare for and adapt to living with wildfire.

We think our event is pretty unique! Right away, when you step in the door, you’ll notice the diverse audience of leading wildfire experts, Firewise community representatives, community planners, civic leaders, homeowners and residents, insurance professionals, landscape architects and others who, like you, are eager to share best-practices and network. With over 50 educational sessions to choose from, you’ll walk away with an incredible amount of great information and lasting friendships. And just as important, you can take all that you learn back to your communities and workplaces and start implementing those changes right away.

For more information about presentation proposals and the 2013 conference, visit the proposal submission page on the Firewise website. And stay tuned to the website for continued Conference updates.

Did you attend the last Backyards & Beyond conference? Are you thinking about attending next year’s event but don’t know what to expect? If you answered “yes” to both, hear past participant testimonials and see complete coverage and download presentations from the 2011 Backyards & Beyond conference in Denver.

The 2013 Backyards & Beyond Education Conference is organized by NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division and Firewise® Communities Program.

We hope to see you there!

FAC_Logo_FDo you want to make a difference? NFPA has an ideal opportunity for an Associate Project Manager to perform division project management activities related to the Fire Adapted Communities program as assigned by a project manager. Duties include technical support of web content, conducting research, and developing and providing technical training.

The Associate Project Manager will work 30 hours per week out of our Denver, CO office. 

Principal responsibilities include:

  1. Research, collect and draft new web content for the FAC website.  Review and update current content as identified.
  2. Work with FAC Coalition members to ensure up to date information and links and help identify new technical content.
  3. Respond to web site inquiries.
  4. Assist with implementing and support of new multimedia features.
  5. Research grant and funding information for inclusion in web site section.
  6. Assist in development and implementation of pilot communities, technical guidebooks, training programs, and other initiatives as identified in the FAC and Division work plans.

Please review the job requirements and learn how to apply

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