Take Part in the 1st Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 3rd

Heritage Preservation’s annual MayDay campaign encourages cultural institutions to do one thing for disaster planning during the month of May.

This year, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and State Farm are encouraging communities to recognize Saturday, May 3rd, as National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. State Farm is offering up 20 grants of $500 to fund community projects that will reduce the risk of wildfires.

Interested project organizers may enter the contest through NFPA’s website or Facebook page. The deadline to enter is March 19th, so make sure to get your entry forms in!

If you’re looking for project ideas, NFPA offers several suggestions in addition to project resources and a program video. Wildfires pose a significant danger to upwards of 72,000 U.S. communities, with more than one quarter of US states at increased risk.* Please be sure to share this information with any relevant parties.

*Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida

Source: Natural Disasters by Patrick L. Abbott, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005

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Assessing Exposure Risk – Lessons Learned from California Wildfires

More than one-quarter of the country’s states* are susceptible to wildfires, especially western and southwestern states. If yours is one of them, read on!

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released a study that verifies the importance of determining exposure risks and developing plans to minimize fire damage.

In looking at the wildland-urban interface (the “WUI,” defined as an area where human development meets undeveloped wildland) and the particular risks faced by some properties, NIST and USFS developed a WUI Hazard Scale to assess exposure risk. After reviewing data from the destructive 2007 California “Witch Fire,” NIST and USFS confirmed that assessments aligned with the damage incurred. Defensive actions taken pre-event yielded better results in those areas with low-exposure risks.

In addition to previous studies on the event, (which confirmed the success of defensive actions taken) this latest report has potential to inform future policy. By using the WUI Hazard Scale, there is the possibility for updating building codes and creating new firefighting policies that focus on low-exposure areas.

*Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida

Source: Natural Disasters by Patrick L. Abbott, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

Saving Family Treasures

Thousands of Coloradans have been displaced and more are being encouraged to evacuate as the threat of flash floods and mudslides continue. When the flooding abates, residents will begin the daunting task of sorting through the wreckage. Treasured family heirlooms and keepsakes will likely have been damaged by the floodwater, but these mementos may be salvageable. For tips on dealing with water damaged objects, see our press release on Saving Family Treasures CO Flooding. For additional resources that may assist your institution or constituents following a flood, visit http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/flood.html.

A Dynamic Group In Portland

Portland forum photo

Portland participants were somehow more energized on the second day of the forum than they were on the first day, which allowed our final forum of 2013 to end on a lively note this past Thursday. Participants fully engaged in the sector and state discussions and reported back to the group with sincerity and a refreshing level of humor. During one group activity, the museum sector demonstrated their commitment to advancing communication not only within their sector but across sectors by each signing their names on the Post-Its seen below.

Portland Museum Sector

Participants seemed eager to move forward with their respective state plans to foster communication, coordination, and collaboration among their fellow state agencies. One participant commented on our forum evaluation that his/her state colleagues, “already have plans underway to meet — invitations went out today, the day after the forum.”