Going Live Tuesday, March 15

Wildfires are inevitable, but wildfire disasters can be prevented. This bold vision, the heart of NFPA's Outthink Wildfire™ policy strategy, requires us to address how and where we build, ways to motivate and incentivize safety upgrades for existing structures, public education, community risk reduction, firefighter safety, and effective land management. A special closing keynote will provide personal insight into the devastating impacts of wildfire disasters on communities, highlighting the challenges and inequities uncovered in the process of recovery and rebuilding. This program will cover a range of topics that can support your professional development in wildfire risk reduction and connect you with industry leaders in research, design, wildfire training, land management, insurance, and more. REGISTER FOR FREE.


In-Depth Program on Outthink Wildfire

Join NFPA® for the Outthink Wildfire: Identifying Solutions to End Community Loss program. This one-day program will provide you with in-depth educational sessions, networking, and live chats with industry experts and NFPA staff. 

Stay out in front. We know that the landscape you’re working in is constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up. This series will address how and where we build, ways to motivate and incentivize safety upgrades for existing structures, public education, community risk reduction, firefighter safety, and effective land management.

Learn from the best. Experience is a great teacher, and we have brought together subject matter experts who have both practical and academic experience—setting the perfect stage for sharing the how, what, and why of some critical topical areas.

Earn CEUs: Tune in live March 15 or view on demand to earn up to 9 credit hours (0.9 CEU) All programs are available on demand for up to a year starting on the launch date.

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Scroll through the carousel to learn about the sessions offered in this program.


11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Presenters: Birgitte Messerschmidt, NFPA Research Director; Michele Steinberg, NFPA Wildfire Division Director

Ending the destruction of communities due to wildfire requires new thinking and new approaches. Join a conversation that explores and explodes myths about wildfire and challenges the conventional wisdom about how to solve the problem of wildfire disasters.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Presenters: Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan, NFPA Firewise USA® Program Manager (moderator); Keri Hines, Texas A&M Forest Service; Robin Bible, Tennessee Division of Forestry

In states that don't experience frequent large fires, safety advocates are challenged to inform and engage the public. Learn about successful wildfire risk outreach models and how state forestry agencies have worked with fire departments and communities.

12:00–1:00 p.m. | Presenters: Dr. Anne Cope, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS); David Shew, NFPA Wildfire Field Representative

Explore the latest findings on how structures ignite during wildfires from the IBHS Disaster Research Center, highlighting the importance of modifying vulnerable structures and their immediate surroundings. Dramatic video of both lab experiments and post-fire damages will demonstrate the power of embers to destroy homes and communities. Panelists will recommend ways to avoid such losses.

12:00–1:00 p.m. | Presenters: Jerry McAdams, City of Boise (ID) Fire Department; Jeremy Keller, Rural Operations Coordinator, Bellefontaine (OH) Fire & EMS

An important element in the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™ is a skilled workforce that is trained and knowledgeable about the science and standards of fire prevention, protection, and suppression. Discussions with fire service and forestry professionals at the federal, state, and local levels made it clear that a gap in skills exists around wildfire mitigation. In response, NFPA created the Certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Program (CWMS) in 2017 to encourage professional development in the arena of property- and community-level wildfire risk reduction. A member of the Certification Advisory Group and an end-user of the credential will explain the background and benefits of the CWMS and highlight its application in real-world examples.

2:00–3:00 p.m. | Presenters: Dr. Anne Cope, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS); Michele Steinberg, NFPA Wildfire Division Director; Brad Bain, CFPS, Verisk

NFPA’s Outthink Wildfire™ policy initiative advocates for key changes in the siting, design, and construction of new or rebuilt homes, as well as improvements to the safety of existing properties and support for local fire departments to enable them to be safe and effective in their first responder role. Learn about a joint study of wildfire preparedness across the Western states, underway across three major safety organizations. Panelists will discuss the rationale for this research, highlight the value of building codes and community wildfire protection plans, and note the gaps in protection for residents and firefighters alike.

3:00–4:00 p.m. | Presenters: Janet Ruiz, Insurance Information Institute; Karen Collins, American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA); Arindam Samanta, Verisk; Michele Steinberg, NFPA (moderator)

Property insurance is the primary and largest financial safety net for recovering from disaster-caused property damage, including wildfires. When wildfires destroy hundreds, even thousands, of homes, the payout of these policies is key to rebuilding communities and reducing the demand on public disaster recovery funding. Yet, the importance of insurance for both individual financial preparedness and community resilience is poorly understood. Learn how insurers and related industries are actively engaged in reducing community wildfire risk through research, modeling, data analysis, and public education.

4:30–5:30 p.m. | Presenters: Michele Steinberg, NFPA Wildfire Division Director; Meghan Housewright, NFPA Fire & Life Safety Policy Institute Director Ray Bizal, NFPA Regional Operations Director

To stem the trend in wildfire-caused human and property losses, the US must make significant policy changes at all levels of government. NFPA’s comprehensive strategy, Outthink Wildfire™, proposes transformation that, over time, will significantly reduce risk to communities. The strategy is rooted in two realities—wildfires are going to happen, and the fire service will not be able to extinguish these fires at a pace to save people and property in their path. Join NFPA staff in conversation about why we must act now to influence policy, and about current policy trends, challenges, and opportunities at the federal and state level.

4:30–5:30 p.m. | Presenters: Karen Berard-Reed, NFPA CRR Lead Robert Horton, Fire Chief, Fire District 3, Jackson Country, Oregon Ellis Thompson-Ellis, Community Outreach Specialist, Grand Junction Fire Department (Colorado)

Understanding wildfire risk to communities is more than just knowing where and when fires are likely to start. The community risk reduction (CRR) process serves as a helpful tool for jurisdictions to assess their wildfire risk in terms of the vulnerabilities of both people and property, and prepare across the spectrum of public outreach and education, fire prevention, ad safe and effective fire response. Hear from two fire professionals whose departments manage the risk of wildfire disaster as part of their core responsibilities. They will share real-world experience and suggest ways that your community can take a CRR approach to cutting wildfire disaster losses.

Presenters: Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan (moderator) and Brian Fies

Early on the morning of Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities, and destroying more than 6,200 homes. One of those homes belonged to author and illustrator Brian Fies and his family. In the days that followed, Fies created a firsthand account of his experience in a 20-page online comic, A Fire Story, that went viral. Less than a year later, he expanded his webcomic into the full-length graphic novel of the same name. The book includes environmental insight and the stories of others affected by disaster. Fies will share his experiences of loss, recovery, and creation, and his discovery of the deep and inequitable impacts of wildfire disaster.

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Outthink Wildfire: Identifying Solutions to End Community Loss

March 15, 2022