Take a step over adults, because you're about to be joined in your wildfire mitigation efforts by a powerful group of middle and high school students that want to be involved in their communities and contribute to making where they live a safer place. Youth now have a resource designed specifically for them where they can get wildfire risk reduction information complete with videos, project ideas and safety tips.
It’s an exciting day at NFPA, as wildland fire educational resources developed for the estimated 8 million middle and high school age students living in a U.S. community with wildland fire risks is launched. TakeAction’s educational resources will significantly help students in their efforts to develop local grassroots community service projects that increase individual and community safety and preparedness, which can also improve a home and property’s chances of surviving a wildfire.
Included in the TakeAction launch is funding from State Farm for twenty $500 community service funding awards to eligible U.S. residents ages 13 -22, who complete a wildfire risk reduction, or post-fire community service project between September 1 and November 15, 2015 and submit an application when the project’s completed. The twenty project recipients selected can use the funding award for future educational costs, or they can donate it to a charitable organization of their choice. The funding awards are part of NFPA's Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire campaign.
Research shows youth are an extremely valuable and important resource for bringing preparedness information into their homes. In a 2012 NFPA study, middle and high school students living in areas that experienced wildfires shared details on what they need and want to know about wildfire and how they want to be involved in their community to reduce fires and its impacts. During the study, participant’s parents said when their kids learn the benefits simple personal actions can have on a topic that is meaningful to them, they’ll mercilessly nag them and other adults in their lives to change behaviors and undertake new views and attitudes. So parents fasten your seat belts and put on that bike helmet your kids convinced you to use, because you’re about to get a strong dose of wildfire risk reduction from the young people in your life!
Youth have had great successes influencing adults and have gotten them to look at social issues through a new set of eyes. They’ve influenced behaviors and mindsets about recycling, water conservation and a host of other important issues. I’m telling you to be prepared, because we're all about to be the recipients of a power that will seep into homes and communities everywhere and you may soon find yourself embracing wildfire risk reduction with a new fervor; one that could just save your life, or that of a firefighter.