IAFC launches wildfire preparedness initiative

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) launched a new wildland fire preparedness initiative—Ready, Set, Go! (RSG)—at their annual Wildland-Urban Interface conference.  In consultation with the RSG program administrator, the Emergency Management and Response—Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC)learned the public education program is a collaborative process that can improve coordination and communication between emergency response agencies and individual residents.  The program stresses fundamental actions homeowners can take to enhance property survivability in a wildland fire.  Fully engaging individual homeowners and aligning program components with existing community-based programs help build partnerships, and clarify and refine priorities to protect life, property, infrastructure, and key resources.

“We’ve identified eight fire departments from across the country to run the program in their communities this year,” said IAFC Wildland Fire Policy Committee chair Chief Bob Roper.  “These departments will help us fine-tune Ready, Set, Go! for a nationwide rollout next year.  The eight fire departments are located in Arizona, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Montana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  The departments range from small volunteer companies to large municipal or county departments, but all face similar challenges from development in or near natural areas that are susceptible to wildland fires.

“We’re working with private industry and a number of local, state, and federal partners to make Ready, Set, Go! a viable national safety and awareness program,” said Chief Roper.  “The U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association Firewise, and the Institute for Business & Home Safety have been instrumental in bringing the program to this point in its development.”

The EMR-ISAC confirmed that the 2010 fire season will be used to collect data from the departments using RSG to further define the program’s components.  “If all goes as we expect, our goal is to roll out a national version of Ready, Set, Go! next year,” said Chief Roper.  “Ready, Set, Go! protects lives, property, and firefighters.  It’s a win-win solution for anyone living or working in the wildland-urban interface.”

Detailed program information can be found at the RSG Program Outline (PDF, 318.5 KB).