New Program Will Train Individuals to Conduct Wildland Fire Assessments

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

3The United States Forest Service has entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) for the purpose of developing the Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP). The two-year program is a joint effort to provide firefighters and Fire Corps volunteers with training on how to properly conduct assessments for homes located in wildland fire areas.
 
This will be the first program that specifically prepares an individual for how to conduct an assessment and what to look for during an assessment, as well as provides departments or programs with the printed materials they may need.
 
Last month, a group of stakeholders reviewed a list of existing resources for wildland fire planning and conducting home assessments and identified several gaps in training and resources. The NVFC will now focus on creating or modifying resources in order to address the identified gaps. When completed, this module-based course will be available in an online format, as well as through live classroom sessions in ten locations determined by need, rates of wildland fire incidents, and geographic diversity.
 
In addition, the NVFC will develop a toolkit which will include a checklist that departments and Fire Corps teams can use when meeting with homeowners. The number of assessments will be tracked and the data gathered will provide invaluable information regarding the level of protection that currently exists. Departments will be able to determine how close they are to becoming a fire-adapted community – where the people, structures, and landscaping are prepared to withstand the effects of wildfire – and whether or not their area is a community at risk.
 
Any department or Fire Corps program that is interested in participating in WFAP or would like to be added to the email list for updates on the program can fill out the WFAP online form. The in-person courses will be offered starting in summer 2012; stay tuned to the Fire Corps web site for more details.
 
About the U.S. Forest Service
 The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Learn more at www.fs.fed.us.
  
About the NVFC
      The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. The NVFC also administers Fire Corps, a Citizen Corps program that connects community volunteers with their local fire and emergency service departments to assist in non-emergency tasks. Learn more at www.nvfc.org and www.firecorps.org.  

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