Collaboration aimed at improving wildfire education and risk management programs
March 13, 2014 – As wildfire risk to people and property continues to be a growing international problem, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a recognized leader on fire and life safety, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), representing the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide, have announced a formalized relationship with the United Kingdom’s Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA).
Growing concerns regarding climate change, increased demands for new homes in the wildland/urban interface (WUI) and variations in land management practices have pressed stakeholders across the UK to place greater emphasis on a holistic solution to wildfire mitigation and safety education that includes not only fire and rescue services, but also land management agencies, civic leaders and homeowners.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the three organizations will serve as the framework of cooperation between NFPA, IAFC and CFOA, and relates to the delivery of WUI education and wildland fire risk mitigation programs. While CFOA will recommend and implement its own WUI programs, wildfire mitigation strategies and codes aimed at reducing WUI property loss and increasing public awareness of wildfire risk throughout the UK, the newly formed partnership will allow CFOA to base the development of its materials and programs on NFPA’s and IAFC’s Firewise Communities/USA®, Fire Adapted Communities and Ready, Set, Go! programs, according to the MOU.
“The problem of wildland fires is not just an American problem but an international one,” said James M. Shannon, NFPA’s president. “NFPA is pleased to join the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Chief Fire Officers Association to expand the outreach of wildland fire safety information and initiatives throughout the United Kingdom. It is a great opportunity to collaborate on a common goal – reducing the losses associated with wildfire.”
CFOA, a membership association representing all fire and rescue services in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, works to reduce the loss of life, personal injury and damage to property and the environment by improving the quality of firefighting, rescue, fire protection and fire prevention across the United Kingdom.
“The Firewise and Ready, Set, Go! program messages are compatible with the wildfire community resilience planning and personal safety messages that CFOA Wildfire Group wishes to disseminate,” said Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher, Chief Fire Officers Association Operations director. “The success of these national WUI programs in the United States sets a precedent for the potential adoption of a similar approach in the UK and Europe, and where appropriate, could include the development of a similar UK Firewise recognition and/or a Ready, Set, Go! program led by UK Fire and Rescue Services and their partners within the wildfire community.”
“The research, toolkits and best practices compiled by the IAFC's wildland fire policy committee and Ready, Set, Go! programs are meant to help any area threatened by wildland fires, domestically and internationally,” said Chief Bill Metcalf, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “Working with NFPA, CFOA and other organizations on initiatives like this spreads the important message of creating safer, fire-adapted communities even further.”
More information about NFPA’s wildfire initiatives can be found at www.nfpa.org/wildfire.
About Chief Fire Officers Association
The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is a professional membership association and a registered charity. CFOA members are drawn from all UK Fire & Rescue Services (FRSs) representing the senior executives and managers of the Service. Through the work of its members, the Association supports the Fire and Rescue Services of the UK in its aspiration to protect the communities they serve and to continue to improve the overall performance of the fire sector. CFOA provides professional and technical advice to inform national fire policy.
About International Association of Fire Chiefs
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.
About Ready, Set, Go!
The Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program, managed by the IAFC in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, seeks to develop and improve the dialogue between fire departments and the residents they serve. Launched nationally in March 2011, the program helps fire departments teach individuals who live in high risk wildfire areas – and the wildland-urban interface – how to best prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats. The RSG! Program tenets help residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go, acting early when a fire starts.
The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is one element of the Fire Adapted Communities initiative – a national effort that engages homeowners, firefighters, civic leaders and land managers to reduce wildfire risk in communities throughout the United States. The Firewise Communities Program and the Fire Adapted Communities initiative are sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and USDA Forest Service.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess
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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275