In the May/June NFPA Journal Wildfire column, I argue simply that if we are going to ask volunteer fire departments to do more, we all need to support them more. The March wildfires across Kansas and its bordering states showed how both volunteer departments will rise to any challenge, and the over-reliance we have on them to continue to save the public from a growing list of risks, wildfire now included.
Just like the 1970s saw emergency medical services increasingly become an integral part of what the public expected fire departments to deliver, such focus is needed anew in funding, supported training, and resources for wildfires. The expectation of EMS was partnered with public support for the necessary training and resources to achieve that service goal. The public, and state governments, need to step up to the plate again and stand with their rural volunteer departments in this fight we all face.
The May/June edition also includes a very good piece by NFPA’s Angelo Verzoni about recent heavy losses in California and Canadian wildfires and what this means for the future of “structure survival”.