The action plan is one of the most important steps for your Firewise USA® site to complete. Once it is written, it is easy to file away and forget about, however, it can be one of the best tools your community has as a road map to success.
A well-thought out action plan can help your community stay organized and focused. Whether you are starting to write your first action plan or your just refreshing it, here are some tips you can consider:
- Use your risk assessment as your guide: When setting your priorities think about what you learned from the risk assessment and actions you can take to address your challenges.
- Think about what residents can do at their individual homes: The most important place to start when reducing your wildfire risk is at the home itself and its immediate surroundings. Select some goals that encourage residents to take action at their own homes and think about how you can motivate them to do so.
- Include the positive: You don’t have to limit your action plan to the tasks that your community needs to improve upon. Include events or goals that your community has had success with. This is a reminder of what is working for your community and the activities you want to maintain throughout the years.
- Set specific and measurable goals: Set benchmarks and ways to measure the progress in your community. Dates and deadlines may help you stay on track. Remember that you can always make changes to these goals based on what you learn is achievable for your community.
- Check in with your goals throughout the year: Consider your action plan as a living document. Set aside some time once or twice a year to review it and see where you are making progress. It may even helpful to write down comments on how you have addressed some of your goals or which goals have been more challenging. For those more challenging goals, your board/committee may want to set aside time to brainstorm or research new ways to approach the issue.
We sometimes get wrapped up in reaching the risk reduction investment every year that we forget to really see what we have accomplished on our action plan. If you use your action plan to guide your activities, the investment will follow. It also allows for a record for future board members to carry on the work that you have started in your community.
In some states, you may be asked follow a specific template. Before starting your action plan, check in with your regional coordinator or state liaison to see if they have a template for you to follow.
Learn more about starting your Firewise USA site at our website, You can follow Marie Snow on twitter @MarieSnowNFPA