The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a new DVD, Before the Smoke! Preparing Your Community for Wildfire (Strategies for Small & Volunteer Fire Departments). Aimed at small and volunteer fire departments in the wildland/urban interface (WUI), Before the Smoke! emphasizes the importance of relationship-building between local fire departments and residents, and how these partnerships can make a marked difference in a community’s effort to reduce its wildfire risk despite department budget cuts and limited fire suppression resources. The DVD is available at no charge through NFPA’s wildfire safety online catalog.
Before the Smoke!highlights three local fire departments whose outreach and neighbor-to-neighbor engagement allowed them to create a community better prepared for wildfire. Residents in Lake Hamilton and Diamondhead, Ark.; Rist Canyon, Colo.; and Itasca County and Cohasset, Minn., took responsibility for preparing their own homes before the threat of wildfire including creating more defensible space around their property, which resulted in less structural damage, less reliance on costly suppression activities and ultimately allowed fire departments to focus more of their firefighting efforts in areas with the most critical need. The DVD features interviews with local residents and firefighters, and highlights each community’s struggle and its successes during the process.