Firewise communities across the United States have accomplished incredible things. Some have developed videos to educate residents, and many have hosted community clean up days. Community groups helped seniors and others clean up around their homes, and supported training opportunities to educate residents about their risk and what can be done to lessen that risk. During 2014, Firewise Communities contributed approximately $33 million dollars in value of fire mitigation work throughout the United States by embracing wildfire safety principles in action.
It is important to share these success stories, especially when we learn that $243 million dollars was spent suppressing wildfires during just one week in 2015. The value of the work completed by communities computes to an even greater value if you consider the value of property and lives protected by this work.
So how do you share your success?
- Start by crafting a simple press release. Look at press releases from your local government or state agency to craft a working template. Write your press release with brief paragraphs describing what you accomplished, who helped or participated, as well as what the expected benefit of the project is.
- Avoid emailing the press release as an attachment since many corporate email services flag attachments as spam.
- Create your own list of contacts by talking to local media representatives. Ask other non-profit groups for contact information that they can share with you.
As a communicators, you have the opportunity to highlight the critical importance of wildfire preparedness while providing information on the news of the day. Materials are available on the Firewise website to provide you with consistent, actionable information about wildfire safety you can use when talking to the media or in your own press releases.
Why should you promote your efforts to reduce risk?
- To encourage participation from other members of your community as well as neighboring communities
- To show that your projects are making a difference. (Grant funders want to support work that is already successful)
- To share your success so that others can learn from and emulate your good work
I am always amazed by the selfless efforts of volunteers in Firewise Communities. They are unsung heroes who help protect other’s property and lives and try to make the work of wildland firefighters safer.