Calling all Coloradans - grab a friend, your entire family, or join a group of neighbors and participate in the statewide Wildfire Preparedness Day of Service on Saturday, May 4, 2013. The date coincides with the International Association of Wildland Fire’s (IAWF) Global Wildfire Awareness Week. Colorado is NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division’s pilot state for this coordinated project.
Make your actions speak loudly – commit a couple of hours or an entire day and see how your personal efforts contribute to reducing the wildfire risk in your community. Enlist the help of a friend, relative, or group of classmates and get something GREAT accomplished! Challenge a club, school athletic team or youth organization to develop a project too, and see who can make the largest impact.
Potential projects span a wide range of possibilities – some require physical energy and others can be as simple as talking with or texting important information to neighbors and friends. You may choose to invest time at your own home doing a project with family members, or choose to organize a group to participate in a neighbor-to-neighbor activity for someone who needs physical assistance completing their Firewise tasks. Perhaps, a totally different path is more aligned with how you want to serve your community – and there’s plenty of options for that too: hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to the local fire department’s wildland fire team or use the money to pay for a neighborhood chipping day. Another option is to set-up a table at a shopping center and distribute free wildfire education information.The scope can be large or small – you decide the details.
The Wildfire Preparedness Day of Service is open to participants of all ages, with a special outreach effort being made to teens – middle school age and older. A broad-range of age appropriate project ideas has been developed and is available at Firewise.org/dayofservice. Each one was created to be easily accomplishable in a single day. The event is being promoted through NFPA’s Firewise.org, Facebook and Twitter sites; with opportunities for coordinated local group projects to be added to our project locator map. Additional outreach is being coordinated by the Colorado State Forest Service, READYColorado, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Mile High Chapter of the Red Cross, and the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
As evidenced each year during October’s annual Fire Prevention Week, there’s enormous strength in motivating individuals to implement fire safety actions on a designated day; and a coordinated day of wildfire preparedness is an opportunity to increase awareness while reducing risk. Service days engage communities into taking action and provide a mechanism for individuals to help with important local issues.-Cathy Prudhomme