As I mentioned in my last post, I want to share some great Firewise success stories from my region that I write about in my quarterly newsletter. This one comes to us from Kelly Hurt, the Oklahoma Firewise Coordinator who talks about the importance of holding a Firewise Day event, and some of the ideas that communities have came up with to ensure its success.
Ensuring good attendance at a Firewise Day (event) can be a difficult task. One helpful approach is to hold it in conjunction with a larger annual event such as a county fair, festival, school homecoming, or fire department benefit like a fish fry, pancake supper or chili cook off. These events offer the Firewise board an opportunity to easily reach a large number of people who represent a cross section of the
local population. The key is to attract the attention of people who, for the most part, are there just to relax, visit and enjoy themselves without being a party pooper.
It certainly helps if your Firewise board has members who are seen as approachable and pleasant. These are the kind of folks that you want in the booth and mixing with the crowd given that the Firewise program is voluntary. The point is to put a friendly, familiar face on the program and to communicate that it just makes common sense.
Having the person next door expound on the program in their own words is one of the most effective
marketing tools a local board can use. In many cases, technical terms like fuel reduction will be localized to “brush clearin’” and that is a wonderful thing. The overall effect is positive in that it gets people to share the concepts and internalize the meaning in their own way. Along the way, the term Firewise may
be all but for-gotten but that’s all right as long as the concepts live on and become part of what is considered “common sense.” Ultimately, it is this adoption and integration of Firewise concepts into a community’s core beliefs and behaviors that matters most.
Kelly Hurt, Oklahoma Firewise Coordinator