Soldiers from the California Army National Guard’s 649th Engineer Company, 579th Engineer Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade, from Chico, California, conduct search and debris clearing operations Nov. 17, 2018, in Paradise, California. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Crystal Housman)

Include Everyone in Community Wildfire Preparedness

Is reducing wildfire risk just about the homes in a community, or is it more? Are businesses, schools, hospitals, cell towers and water distribution centers immune from the impacts of wildfire?

When assessing a community’s assets at risk, you should include public buildings, multiple dwelling units like apartment buildings, and businesses and their owners and managers in the creation of the community’s risk assessment and Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Public buildings and infrastructure are vulnerable

Past fires demonstrate the vulnerability of public buildings and infrastructure. Consider, for example:

These examples highlight the need to include public buildings and infrastructure in all wildfire safety planning.

Pre-fire planning tips to make your community more fire adapted

Important wildfire safety plan components

  • Reducing the ignition potential of buildings.
  • Ensuring that cell towers and water distribution centers have alternate power-supplied generators in the event of a power outage due to a wildfire or other disaster.
  • Evaluating evacuation routes to see if there is more than one way out of a community and the condition of the exit routes is good.
  • Looking at the conditions of the landscape within and surrounding the community.

Be inclusive when pre-fire planning to help ensure that the whole community’s resilience is considered. Inclusivity can also increase the resources and partners in your risk reduction plan.

Read more at U.S. Fire Administration

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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