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RSG Awards Presented at WUI 2015

The IAFC’s Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program presented their awards to four recipients last month at the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) 2015 Conference in Reno, Nev.

The winners successfully incorporated the RSG! Program in their prefire mitigation or preparedness outreach and have demonstrated innovation in expanding the program to neighboring agencies, groups, businesses and individuals to create Fire Adapted Communities. They’ve helped their communities become engaged in the wildland-fire solution by educating them about threats and explaining roles and responsibilities and the potential limitations of fire and emergency responders and equipment during a wildland fire event.

RSG Excellence Award: Assistant Chief Steve Deffibaugh, Princeton Fire Department (PFD) - Deffibaugh and PFD use the RSG! Program to leverage public outreach and WUI education. The department is one of the top five combination departments that report their Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) efforts in the Achievement Management System (AMS). Deffibaugh takes every opportunity to spread the word about RSG at events he attends. PFD Chief Tom Harvey has integrated RSG into the department’s public education efforts. Their RSG outreach has helped publicize the WUI issue, and has helped the community understand the need to mitigate wildland fuels adjacent to their homes and throughout the community. Texas A&M Forest Service is a champion of the RSG! Program and works in cooperation with PFD and countless other fire departments on the fire-adapted effort.

RSG Innovation Award: Lt. Andre de la Reza, Austin (Texas) Fire Department (AFD) – AFD has hosted many events to engage their Spanish-speaking community. Partnered with RSG, they were integral to the creation of the Spanish-language Toolkit, which offers all RSG members translated resources. An outreach guidance document was provided with the kit with tips on how to make inroads with the Hispanic community. Working other RSG! partners, De la Reza and AFD were instrumental in the development and release of RSG’s Spanish-language tools. De la Reza was also a staple in the media coverage for the national launch of RSG! Español at National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations at the Capitol in Austin.

RSG Leadership Award for a Career Department: Lt. Brian Fox, Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) – Fox has been the leader of a department-wide effort to promote a fire-adapted community. AFD encourages its residents to create their own personal wildland fire action plan. Fox customized the national version of the guide for Albuquerque residents, sent the guide out in a department-wide email and explained the program. He also met with all of the AFD wildland stations and battalion chiefs to explain the program so they could target WUI areas in their response districts. He’ll compile their feedback to provide more effective presentations on the RSG! Program in the areas they identify. The guide is posted on an internal department site so crews can print and distribute it when they go to public meetings, schools, fire patrols and other similar events. The public-access website for the department has also posted the guide for community reference.

Armed with the information, Albuquerque residents are much better prepared to make mitigation efforts successful. Fox has led efforts to train and exercise stakeholders in greater Albuquerque. His outreach started with AFD members who don’t focus on WUI and FAC. Once he reached this group, he reached out to those in and around Albuquerque; as AFD crews have identified WUI area, Fox has targeted these communities.

RSG Leadership Award for a Volunteer/Combination Department: Bobette Mauck, Lucas (Texas) Fire Department (LFD) –Mauck serves as the department’s CERT, RSG and Firewise coordinator. Through her leadership, LFD constantly looks for ways to promote the tenets of the RSG! Program and to help educate residents about WUI issues in their community. LFD uses the AMS tracking program to log their RSG outreach work and is consistently ranked as one of the top five reporting combination departments in the nation.

LFD constantly seeks to advance the RSG! Program and help focus community on creating a fire-adapted community. They hosted a Firewise assessment training with Texas A&M Forest Service, providing an overview of WUI issues in Texas and specifically Collin County. It provided hands-on field exercises for assessing hazards in the Home Ignition Zone, opening participant’s eyes to the potential for and impact of wildland fires in the community. In an ongoing effort to partner with other stakeholders, LFD worked with a local home improvement store to develop a Post Card Discount program, utilizing RSG IBHS grant funds, which helped to highlight their continued efforts to promote the RSG! Program and to work on their Firewise community efforts.

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