If you haven't heard, NFPA recently launched a new campaign for teens called TakeAction, and it's proving to be a great resource for students and families across the country.
Specifically, the campaign targets middle and high school students living in areas with wildfire risks. Research shows that youth are a valuable resource in bringing information into their homes and being active participants in projects related to risk reduction. So, a few years ago, members of our wildland fire operations division organized a handful of workshops around the country and met with teens and their parents who had lived through a wildfire in their area, and asked them about their experience.
The students were honest and very forthcoming with their answers, telling us that 1) they didn't know a whole lot about wildfire and its effects, and 2) they wanted to do more to raise awareness about wildfires, take some action to help friends, neighbors and their own families prepare ahead of a threat in their area, but didn't know how.
We took their answers and feedback to heart and TakeAction was born. We created a short video that explains what wildfire is, how it affects communities like the one you live in, and how teens and families can get involved in the campaign. The video can be shared easily through social media and in online newsletters. If you are one of the millions who live in a wildfire risk area, watch it together with the young people you love. Take the opportunity to discuss what you can do as a family to help stay safer from wildfire, then have everyone share it with friends and neighbors.
As parents, we know our kids have to get involved in community service projects for school, right? Participating in school and club community service projects directly benefit the people, wildlife and neighborhoods where you live, and wildfire mitigation can be and is a part of that equation.
So, as part of the TakeAction campaign, NFPA and State Farm created a great way to reward teens who want to get involved in wildfire risk reduction projects. It's called Wildfire Risk Reduction Community Service Projects/Funding Awards.
By taking part in proactive service projects, students not only make important contributions in their area to reduce wildfire risks and mitigate post-fire impacts like flooding and mudslides, but they can earn $500 towards an educational scholarship or donate the money to a charitable organization of his/her choice! Talk to your kids about it, then watch this great video below that explains how they can get involved.
This year's wildfire season has proven to be one of the worst in many years. Why not take advantage of this campaign to involve family members in projects that can help you build a safer place to live. TakeAction has a number of great resources you can use to help you get started and guide you along the way like checklists and project ideas and other resources. Get inspired by the stories from other communities, just like yours, that have made it a point to take steps now to prepare.
When you get a chance, share your stories with us. If your kids have been involved in wildfire mitigation projects, we want to hear about it! Let your stories be the inspiration and encouragement others need to begin working on their piece of the bigger wildfire puzzle. We can't wait to find out what everyone is doing!
Learn more about the TakeAction campaign and the community service project funding awards by visiting www.nfpa.org/takeaction. And stay tuned for the second part of our campaign that focuses on pet preparedness! We know you'll love it!
Find the full report on youth and wildfire on our "youth and families" webpage on NFPA.org.