America’s PrepareAthon! Gets You Prepared for Disasters
Disaster preparedness campaign turns awareness to action
Every community experiences emergencies and severe weather, yet fewer than 50% of Americans feel prepared to handle a disaster. Research has shown knowing what to do when a disaster strikes is critical, especially when seconds matter the most. But it takes practice. Practicing what to do, where to go, and how to stay safe during an emergency empowers individuals and the entire community.
America’s PrepareAthon! was launched in 2013 as a national, grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises. The goals of the campaign are to increase the number of individuals who:
Understand which disasters could happen in their community;
Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage;
Take action to increase their preparedness; and
Participate in community resilience planning.
Ten ways to participate:
Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps, and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts.
Develop and test emergency communications plans.
Assemble or update emergency supplies.
Learn about local hazards and conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions.
Participate in a preparedness discussion, training, or class.
Collect and safeguard critical documents.
Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards.
Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage (mitigation) .
Hold a scenario-based continuity of operations tabletop exercise for your organization.
Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.
Join the movement! It only takes three easy steps to participate in America’s PrepareAthon!
Choose your hazard and preparedness activity.
Create an account and register your activity on the web site at www.ready.gov/prepare.
Download materials designed to help you plan and promote your day of action.
Visit the America’s PrepareAthon! web site to find free, easy to use, customizable, hazard-specific guides and resources designed to help you plan and conduct preparedness activities.
Prepare Your Community and Department for Wildfire
Participation in America’s PrepareAthon! can take place anytime throughout the year, whenever it is most convenient for you to take part. Last year alone over 27 million Americans participated in America’s PrepareAthon! by bringing attention to the importance of preparedness, building awareness of local hazards, and encouraging individuals and communities across the country to practice the preparedness actions that can help them stay safe.
Twice a year, America’s PrepareAthon! holds a National PrepareAthon! Day to bring together stakeholders, communities, and individuals to take action and engage the nation in a conversation on resilience. This spring, National PrepareAthon! Day takes place on April 30 and will encourage individuals and communities to prepare for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and winter weather.
We encourage everyone to participate in America’s PrepareAthon! because being prepared for disasters is a shared responsibility. To find out more about America’s PrepareAthon! go to www.ready.gov/prepare and take part in the national preparedness conversation by using #PrepareAthon.
Help to mitigate wildfire threats in your community by taking advantage of the FREE Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP). These resources are designed to make sure fire departments and residents in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) are ready when the next wildfire strikes.
What is the WFAP and what can it do for your community?
The NVFC and the U.S. Forest Service teamed up to create the WFAP to help volunteer fire departments and Fire Corps teams work side-by-side with residents to identify threats around their homes and property that may be susceptible to widlfires. Specifically, the program prepares volunteer firefighters and support personnel to conduct home safety assessments and provide residents with recommendations as to how to make their homes more fire adapted.
The program offers training and resources in a train-the-trainer format so students can take the information back to their stations and teach their members about how to perform a home assessment. A checklist is included that can be left with the homeowner, and a copy can be taken back to the department to track how many homes have been reached. The department can also use the checklist to follow up with homeowners to see if mitigation recommendations made during the assessment have been completed. Marketing and supplemental resources are available to help departments publicize this service to the public.
How can your department participate?
There are many free resources and training available through the WFAP and our partner programs. Here are some steps and resources to get you started. Visit the WFAP webpage for more.
Take the WFAP training. Now is the time to start training your members through the WFAP so you can begin performing home assessments before the next wildfire season. Take the course online, or host a FREE in-person training.
Get out into your community. A variety of marketing materials are available to help departments publicize the WFAP program and spread wildfire mitigation messages. Start advertising your home assessment service so the public knows it is available. Handouts and supplemental resources to leave with the homeowner are available in the WFAP toolkit and on the WFAP webpage. Access marketing materials.
Track your progress. Knowing how many homes you’ve reached and which properties have made changes to mitigate the impact of wildfire is key to finding out if your community is becoming more fire adapted. You can easily log your assessments and track your progress utilizing the WFAP assessment tools. Email
with the subject line WFAP Assessment to set up a free, personalized data-tracking system for your department.
Be part of the Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) movement. A “Fire Adapted Community” incorporates people, buildings, businesses, infrastructure, cultural resources, and natural areas to prepare for the effects of wildfire. Gain guidance from the FAC and learn about specific actions you can take to reduce your risk. Access FAC information and resources.
Involve your department in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Does your community have one? If so, is your fire department involved and aware of its role in the CWPP? CWPPs address issues such as wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness, structure protection, and more. If a CWPP doesn’t exist for your community, consider rallying your local and state government representatives in consultation with federal agencies and other key stakeholders to develop one. The process of developing a CWPP can help a community clarify and refine its priorities for the protection of life, property, and critical infrastructure in the WUI. Access CWPP information and resources.
Now is the time for action.
Reports and studies have shown that fire and EMS departments are a key component in educating residents about the importance of wildfire mitigation efforts. In a two-county survey in Colorado, it was found that the most important sources of information for WUI residents that were related to taking action were informal social networks (such as talking with neighbors) and guidance from local fire departments and county wildfire specialists (USDA/USFS Science You Can Use, Bulletin; September/October 2013, Issue 7).
Studies predict that the number and intensity of wildfires are only going to increase over the next decades. The NVFC encourages your fire department to recognize what a critical role you play in wildfire mitigation efforts. Utilize the WFAP resources to help residents take personal responsibility so their homes and families are prepared for a wildfire.