Is your community fire adapted? The fire-adapted communities (FAC) concept conveys a message to individuals and groups, encouraging acknowledgement and action in preparation for wildland-fire threat at the community level. Becoming an advocate for and leading members of your community through the fire-adapted process benefits all involved.
What will your legacy in the fire service be? Being a leader in the FAC effort can improve leadership skills; promote integrity in department practices, policies and relationships; and set the stage for your legacy as a dedicated, community-minded leader.
There's a variety of audiences within a fire-adapted community, each with an important role in creating a more favorable outcome in the face of a wildland fire. The local fire department should be the heart of this effort.
Historically, fire departments have played an invaluable role in educating youth, property owners, civic groups, leaders and local businesses about fire-safety education. Public-awareness programs such as "Stop, Drop and Roll," "E.D.I.T.H." and "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" are engrained in the culture as steps we take to minimize damage to our person or property when faced with fire.
Wildland fire (or outdoor) threats are a growing issue facing both fire departments and their communities. Wildland-fire awareness, education, preparation and action are vital pieces in the FAC effort. Implementing FAC outreach into your department's educational plan is the simplest way to provide important information to the different audiences within your community.
This outreach not only enables you to engage with the residents you serve, but can also provide great relationship-building opportunities with other agencies, local officials, local businesses and neighborhood associations. These relationships are key to any community becoming fire-adapted.
The FAC and Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) toolkits provide resources you need to initiate and continue your outreach. RSG tools are geared toward the local fire department, with many of them customizable to your community's uniqueness. Every department should take advantage of these resources. Tools and information are even available for Spanish-speaking populations.
The FAC and RSG programs continue to develop new tools and resources based on user feedback to provide all audiences the most informative, up-to-date materials possible. The IAFC shares this goal with many other FAC Coalition partners and encourages use of all available resources offered.
All you need to do is to become engaged in the FAC effort. Begin speaking about its importance and how it can lead to life-saving measures. Be a leader; leave your mark by acknowledging the need, accessing the tools and presenting the concept and roles to each audience within your community.
Taking these leadership steps will create community integrity and smart practices that could potentially save lives and significantly reduce property damage, building up valuable relationships along the way.