As we review how a community, fire department or individual moves from the planning to action phase in our Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire campaign, I thought of a quote I saw on a The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website. The NCBI is a part of the United States National Library of Medicine, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. Although the paper is a study of enhancing motivation to help individuals, there was a key component discussed in the paper about how medical professionals can help a client adopt or act upon positive changes that make a difference. The quote states, “Strong commitment alone does not guarantee change. Unfortunately, enthusiasm does not make up for ineptness... Commitment without appropriate coping skills and activities can create a tenuous action plan... Anticipation of problems and pitfalls appears to be a solid problem-solving skill." [DiClemente, 1991.]
As we take action we must build upon a sound plan based upon Firewise principles that take a holistic look at the home and the landscape surrounding the home. It is good to have a strong commitment to change, but just as important is to first have that plan in place that has buy in from everyone in the community. It must honestly take a look at the community vulnerabilities to wildfire. Working together collaboratively creates a well-thought-out, planned course of action. This plan takes into consideration multiple components within the community itself that contribute to action that will enhance community resilience during a wildfire event. The actions then will create change that truly makes a difference.
Follow the NFPA’s Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire campaign to see how fire departments, communities and individuals can take action.