I was asked by a friend and colleague Annabelle Cornejo, Public Relations Officer for the Cleveland National Forest to assist at a San Diego City Wide Expo that would provide residents with information they needed to be better prepared during a wildfire event. The expo was hosted by the Sharp Health Care System on October 5th from 10 am to 1 pm off of Kearny Mesa Road in the heart of the City of San Diego. There were many families that came to both have fun and learn about information and skills to better prepare themselves. All of the attending vendors were asked to do something fun to engage the families. The Firewise Booth was decorated for the season and I told a happy ending story to the children about how they could help their parents make their home Firewise! The children enjoyed the stories and the goodies. Groups of teens who do yard work both as a job helping seniors in their community and for their parents were eager to learn how they could do yard work in a Firewise manner. The Firewise Guide to Landscape maintenance was a big hit! Residents from Ramona, Temecula, Scripps Ranch, Poway, City Heights and Lakeside stopped by the booth to learn about how they and their community could participate. Many residents also took a Firewise bookmark where they learned about online courses including The Firewise Landscaping Course, The Community Assessment Course and for firefighters Firefighter Safety in the Wildland Urban Interface that are available free of charge through the Firewise website. Residents were also interested in many of the products.
Many of the participating vendors at this expo would be great additions to any community Firewise Day. Your Firewise Day can enlist the participation of many local partners such as:
- An EMT company taught children and teens CPR skills with a child sized dummy.
- The local power company gave away landline phones.
- A fire extinguisher company taught children PASS (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) skills for using a fire extinguisher.
- The American Red Cross showed Residents how to make “Ready Backpacks”.
- The State Department of Transportation showed residents how their mobile command trailer worked.
- A local outdoor outfitter demonstrated how to prepare dehydrated food.
- The local animal shelter showed residents how to make preparations for their pets.
- Other participants could include your fire district, school district, hospital, water
district, road department and others.
If your Firewise community has not yet hosted the Firewise Day these may be some ideas to liven up the day and make it fun for the whole family. Remember you can renew your community’s status on line if you are already a Firewise Community. If you would like more information about how you can be a recognized Firewise Community contact your state liaison and Firewise Region Advisor we would be happy to help you understand how you can create a safer community and home. Being Firewise after all is a community and a family affair!