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2018

 

Insurance policies for residences located in wildfire prone areas are frequently inadequate and coverage is often misunderstood. To ensure residents have the information and knowledge needed to be financially prepared, NFPA is hosting a free, one-hour webinar during Fire Prevention Week on Wednesday, October 10 at 1 pm MDT (3 pm Eastern).

 

The session includes important information from subject matter experts at the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Northwest Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute along with a 15-minute live interactive opportunity for participants to ask the panel’s experts their questions.

 

During the webinar, participants will discover what insurance companies know about their property, how they make policy related decisions and most importantly how to ensure their policy is all it needs to be when a wildfire strikes.

 

Register today and get this date added to your calendar to ensure you are a part of this informative webinar. Advance registration is required. NFPA recommends registering even if you cannot participate in person, so you will receive notice when the recorded webinar is available.

 

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fires can happen anywhere.”

Members of the sponsoring organizations on stage with award recipient

 

Here's the perfect opportunity to highlight and recognize an outstanding individual, group or organization that continuously demonstrates exceptional wildfire risk reduction achievements - the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards.


The national awards are the highest honor for outstanding work and significant impacts in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. Established in 2014, the awards were developed in response to an overwhelming number of exceptional wildfire risk reduction efforts occurring throughout the U.S.


Nominating a deserving individual or organization is simple and easy-to-do. Read the guidelines and supporting criteria and get started by completing the form.


Three award categories cover a broad spectrum of achievements:

  • National Wildfire Mitigation Award
  • National Mitigation Hero Award
  • Wildfire Mitigation Legacy Award

 

Jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS), the deadline to submit a nomination is Wednesday, October 31.


Awards will be presented at the Wildland Urban Interface Conference, March 27, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.

 

Photo credit: NFPA

 

As part of National Preparedness Month on September 20 (primary date) or October 3 (secondary date), FEMA will be testing the National Emergency Warning System. This warning system test will include two parts, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which broadcasts over radio and television and the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) which are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier.

 

Since youth will also be receiving these messages, it is important that parents and guardians have conversations with them before September 20th to explain that this is a test and not a real emergency. Parents and guardians might want to also connect with them about developing plans for emergency situations if they are separated from their children say when they are at school or other function during an emergency. This picture of two teens and their aunt were working on a wildfire Prep Day project in Maine. They were raking and posed together with their aunt as they were taking a break

 

Talking to young people before something happens helps them better prepare. One preparedness activity is creating a “Go Bag” (a small evacuation bag or backpack with essentials) in case you have to evacuate during a wildfire or other natural disaster, so they won’t be as anxious and will feel more empowered about what they want to take with them in case they have to evacuate. Check out NFPA’s TakeAction ™ site for more information about how you can create your own “Go Bag”

 

These notices from WEA will look like text messages and will share information about the type and time of the alert and which agency is issuing the alert. There will be three types of alerts, Amber alerts, presidential messages, and extreme weather or threatening emergencies. According to the FEMA webpage, WEA messages will include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice. For more information about this emergency warning test check out the FEMA webpage. Send questions you may have about this test to; FEMA-National-Test@fema.dhs.gov

 

 

Photo credits: Top - FEMA; Side - Faith Berry NFPA employee.

Pat Durland instructs ASIP class on wildfire safety and mitigation in Bangor Maine. Photo shows NFPA instructor in front of class with a slide on the screen.

Register now for NFPA's Assessing Structure Ignition Potential from Wildfire two-day training in Denver scheduled for October 4-5. This class will provide valuable skills and knowledge to help you in your wildfire safety mission.
Learn the science behind how homes ignite from wildfire. More importantly, find out the best ways to advise property owners about actions that will help prevent ignition and reduce the chances of home destruction during a brush or forest fire.


Discover what others have learned. According to one captain/paramedic, “I thought I wanted to learn about structure triage. What I got was a new mindset concerning how to approach wildland fire (operational) and people (social).” Another fire captain commented, “I am better prepared to assess WUI properties and communicate hazards to community members.”


Don't delay - register today and join your colleagues and expert instructor in Denver!

 

Photo credit: NFPA staff member

Photo by Faith Berry of burned landscape behind Durango, Colorado area home

This is National Preparedness Month and we are all reminded to take steps to be prepared for an emergency. But with all the hype do preparedness efforts really make a difference, you may be asking yourself.


Working with communities to implement project work with Wildfire Community Preparedness Day this last year, I connected with a Firewise USA® site leader Paulette Church in Durango, Colorado who was actively helping her community be better prepared for their greatest risk of loss from wildfire. Their community had been impacted by a wildfire in 2002, and it spurred them to be better prepared in case it happened again. That fire in 2002 consumed over 70,000 acres and 56 homes in the region.


Their community worked on a number of projects including a fuels reduction Prep Day project this year, and as Paulette shared with me they went from having a 10% initial involvement by residents in the community to almost 90%. Their community was again impacted by a wildfire this year but this time their efforts really made a difference. I went with a crew to film their story and was awestruck by how close the fire came to homes throughout their community. Paulette shared that they had made the work activities to increase their preparedness, fun to garner more engagement and support from the neighbors to participate in fuels reduction activities and it worked! They did not lose one home to the fire this time around due to their efforts which made it easier and safer for firefighters to do their jobs!


Even the Inciweb (incident report) mentioned; “In Division A, south of the fire, line construction continues, and firefighters have connected a line from 550 northwest into the rock face above Hermosa. Last night, the fire pushed into areas with structures. Crews engaged in active firefighting. No structures were damaged or lost, and no firefighters were injured. The work that the community has done to make this area “Firewise” contributed a great deal to firefighters’ ability to defend these homes. The Falls Creek and Lower Hermosa areas are set with hoses, pumps and sprinklers, and are prepared for the possibility of further active firefighting.”


The lesson learned from this incredible story of a community’s survival is that good preparedness efforts completed with neighbors working together with local agency partners can make a difference. What will your story be? Learn more about how you can better prepare your home and neighborhood for wildfire, visit Firewise USA® today!

The September/October NFPA Journal® is out and its Wildfire column asks how we create the local conversation needed for residents to understand their risk. Not surprisingly, Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is a good place to start.

 

For some backstory, I was in Vacarisses, Spain, visiting NFPA’s wildfire partner, the Pau Costa Foundation, this past May to see firsthand their work with communities at risk to wildfire. Their region is seeing former agricultural lands transition back to native landscapes and with that, a return of the natural fire ecology. While agriculture previously kept wildfire at bay, the Foundation is using Wildfire Community Preparedness Day as a tool to explain these changes and what wildfire now means for residents.

 

The Prep Day event in Vacarisses combined risk reduction educational messaging with local government promotion. The outreach was made stronger still by additional promotion of the day’s value by the regional council of governments and regional fire authority. All of this started a conversation about wildfire that was not discussed by residents before and got people talking about the positive role they can play in community risk reduction.

 

The value of using Prep Day to start the conversation in a community stuck with me and it didn’t take me long to find that same focus in many of the 2018 funding award submission descriptions. From a rural fire department in Oklahoma and a municipal fire department in California both connecting with their local at-risk residents for the first time, to communities connecting with overlooked populations, the goal for many – as one submitter shared – was to “keep the conversation going beyond our May 5th event.”

 

Learn more about the value of creating the conversation in this month’s NFPA Journal® Wildfire column.

 

Photo Credit: Lucian Deaton

The September NFPA Journal® highlights the findings of NFPA’s 2017 National Fire Experience Survey, which outlines that reporting year’s response numbers, fatalities, injuries, and property loss from fires across the United States.

 

2017 was unfortunately a major year for wildfires and that extent is made clear in the report. It explains, “NFPA estimates that the 1,319,500 fires to which the fire service responded in 2017 caused $23 billion in property damage, a very large increase over the $10.6 billion in 2016. It is worth noting that the $23 billion figure includes major wildfires in Northern California in 2017, which caused $10 billion in direct property damage.”

 

In effect, the wildfires that impacted California doubled the annual property loss figure. Overall for that year, wildfires accounted for 22% of response by fire departments.

 

The report also shares that approximately 3,400 civilian fire deaths were recorded, with over 14,670 people injured at responded fires.

 

These figures remind us what one burning ember can do. Learn what you can do to reduce your property’s exposure to embers and read more about the National Fire Experience Survey in the September NFPA Journal®.

 

Photo credit: National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) public photo Library firefighters pulled 11 July 2017

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