Who knew that a 15 minute presentation early last December could pay off with so much interest?
I attended the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Executive Board meeting with Lucian Deaton from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and together we provided information about the Ready, Set, Go! and theFirewise Communities/USA Recognition Programs. Our presentation was greeted with interest and the Executive Board made and passed a motion to accept and support both programs. This led to Firewise attending the annual Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Conference this year in the Wisconsin Dells.
The conference drew approximately 300 fire chiefs and their staff from across the state. The expo was well supported by fire service-related businesses. NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA was one of those businesses proud to be represented this year. This was the first time Firewise Communities/USA was represented at the conference and what a response!
Russ Sanders, NFPA Central Region Manager, gave a presentation about NFPA in the opening ceremony. During his presentation, Russ briefly discussed the success of the NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA program. After the opening ceremony, the attendees were allowed a break before classes started. The expo was opened for anyone to browse for information and free goodies were given away. The Firewise booth started to get busy. By the end of the first day, almost all of the information at the booth was taken, including handfuls of business cards. My voice was even fading from all of the talking! But it didn't matter to me; the response to the program was incredible! I was able to talk to several fire departments that showed interest in obtaining their recognition. Here are some of the positive results that came out my attendance:
- A group of fire departments from northeast and northwest Wisconsin invited me to talk to their organizations about Firewise.
- I am invited to attend the Wisconsin Fire Inspectors Conference, as well as the State Fire Chiefs Conference.
- Everyone who stopped by the booth to learn about Firewise agreed that it was a good program and saw the benefits.
The day before the conference started, I was able to tour a few of the recognized Firewise Communities/USA communities in Wisconsin. Jolene Ackerman, Wisconsin DNR and Firewise State Liaison, and Amy Luebke, Wildland-Urban Interface Specialist Wisconsin DNR, took time out of their busy schedule to show me the tremendous amount of work that is being done in Wisconsin to make their communities safer against wildland fire.
Wisconsin currently has 15 recognized Firewise Communities/USA communities. See a full list of communities in Wisconsin and across the US at www.firewise.org/communities and learn more about how your community can stay safer from wildfire with tips and actions steps developed by the Firewise Communities Program.