What is Wildlife Community Preparedness Day?
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, spearheaded by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), will take place on Saturday, May 5, 2018. The day exists to promote public education about fire safety in hopes of decreasing the number and devastation of fires each year.
Fires: Fearsome Natural Disasters
When most people think of natural disaster-oriented emergency situations, hurricanes and floods may come to mind. However, we can’t overlook wildfires. More than 98 million Americans live in areas where wildfires occur, putting more than 45 million homes in 72,000 communities at risk. In fact, 2017 brought one of the worst fire seasons the United States has ever seen; by September, more than 8 million acres and 500 homes had already burned. To see your state’s forest action plan with an analysis of forest conditions and trends for your area, click here.
History of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
In 2014, the NFPA established the first Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Now, every year the NFPA works with State Farm to provide grants for community events across the country designed to help communities prepare for, mitigate, and prevent fires. In response, communities plan day, week, or even month-long fire prevention events. Education focus areas include causes of fire, people at risk, emergency preparedness, fire and life safety equipment, safety in the home, and more.
What You Can Do
How can you keep your business, assets, grounds, employees, and citizens safe from fires? The NFPA suggests many action steps. Here are a few of the most pertinent to keep in mind:
- Check Your Smoke Alarms. Ensure your site, office, or community is equipped with working smoke alarms. Be sure they are properly installed and tested regularly. Having smoke alarms doesn’t help if they do not work! They should be replaced every 10 years even if they seem to still function properly. Also, ensure that your facility has enough smoke alarms for the size of the building or area.
- Obtain and Regularly Check Fire and Life Safety Equipment. Besides smoke alarms, you will need other fire and life safety equipment that varies depending on the type and size of the area you’re in charge of protecting. Every site should be equipped with working fire extinguishers, and some sites need fire sprinkler systems as well.
- Create and Communicate a Fire Disaster Plan. Every business, organization, and community needs to have a fire disaster plan so that if an emergency occurs, everyone will know what to do. To see the NFPA’s fire disaster plan checklist, click here. Be sure to communicate the disaster plan to relevant personnel and schedule fire emergency drills so people can practice their responses.
- Update Your Emergency Alert and Notification System. Smoke alarms can provide auditory alerts to people indoors, but larger businesses, communities, and organizations need more complicated emergency alert and notification systems. You may want to send out alerts via email, text, phone, or computer pop-up; or you might opt to send alerts via sirens, reader boards, or radio. If you need help assessing your site’s preparedness to communicate messages about a fire-related emergency, contact us.
About the National Fire Protection Association
The NFPA, established in 1896, is the leading information and knowledge resource on fire, electrical, and related hazards. It is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards.