As 2017 draws to a close, I'm proud to say that NFPA has been able to bring some 90 fire service members and wildfire specialists to our training, Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone, this year under a generous award from the DHS/FEMA Fire Prevention Safety Grant. In addition to these funded courses, where participants received a travel scholarship to attend, the class was also taught at the IAFC WUI Conference in Reno in March and at several locations where organizations contracted with NFPA to bring the class to their locations. NFPA also provided this training to state forestry wildfire specialists from 25 states this fall in Boise.
At the FEMA-funded offering in Jacksonville, Florida this October, I met participants from all over the country. These individuals were highly motivated and engaged throughout the two-day classroom, and especially enthusiastic about the hands-on opportunity to visit two nearby homes to test their knowledge. NFPA is grateful to the local contacts in all of the states that have helped us get onto private property with permission from the homeowner in so many locations. This exercise truly helps participants learn how to interact with residents in a pre-fire situation.
One participant, after only the first day of class, commented to me that he planned to actually change the way his department addressed wildland/urban interface issues based on what he had learned. This statement from a long-term veteran of fire and emergency services was a testament to the value of the science and approach on which this course is based.
As NFPA prepares to launch its next round of FEMA-supported classes and scholarship competition, I hope fire departments everywhere will take a few moments to review the information at www.nfpa.org/hiz to learn about the valuable information and knowledge available to them through this training. Whether you send a lucky candidate on a scholarship, register through the IAFC WUI conference offering, or bring the training to your local facility, you'll be taking a step toward a future of safer homes and communities.
Photo by Michele Steinberg, NFPA: Assessing Structure Ignition Potential from Wildfire training participants inspect a home in the Jacksonville, Florida, area.
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