March NFPA Journal Wildfire column asks about the real impact of volunteerism

Blog Post created by luciandeaton Employee on Mar 7, 2018

In the March/April NFPA Journal Wildfire column, I ask if we are kidding ourselves to think that voluntary risk reduction efforts can really make an impact.The answer is that we are not, but the criticism posed by some provides a healthy reflection for us on the necessary work ahead and the value of community engagement.


For some backstory, the American writer, Mark Twain, once said, “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” This quote takes on delightful meaning when you discover that, though credited in various articles and movies for the quote, he never said it.


It’s an example of a confirmation bias, when people want to believe something is true, so they just believe it to be a truth. When homes are lost in a wildfire, are our beliefs and risk reduction efforts an overconfidence in the face of “megafires” and ever lengthening fire seasons?


The column explores this challenge and offers how a more educated and empowered resident, working on their own risk, will have the understanding to better accept building practices and regulations we all need.