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Mitigating for Wildfires with NFPA’s Firewise USA initiative

Episode #12
10.29.2020

The national Firewise USA® recognition program provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors in a geographic area get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and to reduce wildfire risks at the local level. Any community that meets a set of voluntary criteria on an annual basis and retains an “In Good Standing Status” may identify itself as being a Firewise® Site.  

The Firewise USA® program is administered by NFPA® and is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. While the NFPA® administers this program, individuals and communities participate on a voluntary basis. The NFPA® disclaims liability for any personal injury, property, or other damages of any nature whatsoever, whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly resulting from participation in the Firewise USA® program. The NFPA® also makes no guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of program guidance. 

To learn more about NFPA’s Firewise USA program visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA

Key Takeaways

  • [01:30] Introduction of Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan
  • [01:50] Can you share with us how the program was started with NFPA?
  • [03:30] Have you seen any examples from this year’s wildfires on how Firewise has reduced the impact from fires?
  • [06:10] How can communities or individuals start a Firewise program?
  • [07:50] Is there a checklist or application that an organization goes through to start a program?
  • [11:10] I understand there are grants available that programs can qualify for to support meeting their annual outreach or investment project, is that correct?
  • [14:10] Are there any benefits on reducing insurance premiums or other costs for those who participate in this program?
  • [15:30] Can you provide some examples of best practices from current Firewise participants?
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Guests

Megan Fitzgerald McGowen
Megan Fitzgerald-McGowen
Firewise USA Program Manager
NFPA

Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan is NFPA’s Firewise USA® Program Manager. She has been working in and around wildfire since 2003 and has held operational and dispatcher wildland fire qualifications. Before joining NFPA in 2017, Megan worked for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, serving as their Firewise state liaison.

Host

Greg Padgett
Greg Padgett
Media & Communications Strategist

Greg Padgett is the host of Disaster Recovery Roundtable and brings 25 years' experience as a journalist, emergency manager, crisis communicator, and host. From 1991 to 2001, he was a journalist and meteorologist with several TV stations across the southeast U.S. He holds the American Meteorological Society's and National Weather Association's Broadcast Seals of Approval. He previously served as Natural Hazards Program Manager for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, overseeing the development of the state's hurricane, severe weather, flood, and earthquake response plans. He has organized statewide media tours, supported public information officer training, and provided technical assistance in developing response plans and Whole Community preparedness campaigns for local jurisdictions. He also served as an on-air meteorologist for the Weather Channel's Radio Network from 2002 to 2007. He is a past recipient of the National Weather Association's Broadcaster of the Year award.