Meeting the criteria for becoming a Firewise USA® site helps communities get organized and find direction for their wildfire safety efforts. Like the first rungs on a ladder, the criteria help to get a community started toward annual, systematic action to reduce their risks from brush, grass and forest fires.
There are numerous tangible and intangible benefits for residents who live in a recognized Firewise USA site or neighborhood. Here are a few of the more important benefits:
Framework for Action
The Firewise USA program provides your neighbors with a framework for reducing the risk of wildfire. Meeting the criteria for becoming a Firewise USA™ site helps communities get organized and find direction for their wildfire safety efforts. Like the first rungs on a ladder, the criteria help get a community started toward annual, systematic action to reduce their risks from wildfires.
Learn About Wildfire
As neighbors go through the process, they learn about wildfire risks in the community and the simple things they can do to reduce them. They connect with experts – local fire fighters, state forestry professionals, and national researchers – to continue to learn about fire and find resources to accomplish fire-safe actions.
Peace of Mind
People who work with experts to learn about wildfire and take action start to see results quickly. Knowing that they are using the best information available and actually taking steps to reduce the risk of damage from fire helps people start to feel safer in their environment and in their homes. Having a plan for what to do in the event of a fire helps people become calmer and more prepared to act quickly.
As neighbors get together to do work, often meeting one another for the first time, they build a stronger bond with each other. Activity can help rally people to a common cause for the good of the neighborhood. This strengthening of community ties can benefit residents in many ways and is especially helpful during an emergency.
Build Citizen Pride
While the work can be fun, it is not always easy. Neighbors work very hard in communities to remove brush and debris, clean up common areas, and dispose of green waste. They are rightly proud when they achieve national recognition for their efforts.
The program provides communities with metal signs, a plaque and other materials that can be presented publicly to honor their status as a Firewise USA recognition site. These recognition ceremonies are great ways to shine the spotlight on community efforts. News media find this to be a great story to cover, and the national program features community stories regularly on the website and in its publications. All this publicity results not only in satisfaction for the residents involved but also provides one more way to reach large numbers of people with information about wildfire safety.
Homeowners insured by USAA and the California FAIR Plan may be eligible for insurance discounts if they live in a recognized Firewise USA site. State Farm has provided discounts locally in Tuolumne County to homeowners in recognized Firewise Communities. Mercury Insurance recently notified Firewise USA that they would be providing discounts. Other insurers may offer these discounts as well. Contact your agent for questions. These discounts are not guaranteed and are not administered by the 108 Firesafe Council or the NFPA/Firewise USA program.