This page has information and resources for helping the leaders of individual Firewise Communities (FWCs) administer their local FWC. If anyone in your leadership team has a Facebook profile, have them join our Coalition Facebook group here, where we share good ideas, questions and answers.

Using Google Forms to digitally capture the Hazard/Risk Assessment and Annual spending  (Risk Reduction Investment)

Each Firewise Community is required to report the Risk Reduction Investment (hours and money spent on firewise activity - required yearly), as well as the Hazard Assessment (every 5 years)  The Hazard Assessment will direct the content of the Action Plan.  Google Forms will assist in making this job simpler. Google forms editing works best with a Gmail account.  Gmail account is not needed to respond to a Form once it is completed.

This is using a Google product, your experience and results will work better with the Google Chrome Browser and a Gmail account.

Follow the instructions from #1.

In 2023, many Firewise Communities need to prepare a new Risk Assessment and a new Action Plan so that they can keep their NFPA certification. Here are your resources for doing this:

  1. The Fire Safe Council's Firewise Coordinator Pat Leach created this Steps to Creating or Updating Your Risk Assessment, in PDF format, clearly describing what you need to do. Download it to your own computer for ongoing reference. (The images of the Risk Assessment form will be fuzzy -- click on the link below in #2  to get your own download of the actual Risk Assessment Template to print and use.)
  2. This Risk Assessment Template (on the NFPA website) is what you will use to complete the Risk Assessment. Download it to your own computer. Be sure to also view the NFPA's online Tutorial for completing the Risk Assessment.
  3. Need a new Action Plan? Here is Cal Fire's 3Year-Action_Plan_Template in Word docx forat. It's also available in Step 3 when your FWC leader signs into the portal at the NFPA website (look for the red "Login to the portal" button).

Questions? Send an email to Pat via the Contact Us page on the Fire Safe Council website. (Don't contact the Coalition, we have nothing to do with the NFPA re-certification process.)

Wildfire Preparedness Educational Resources for your FWC

This website is for you and your FWC members. You can use anything here to help the residents in your neighborhood(s) know what to do and how to do it. If a topic is missing that you want to cover, let us know and we'll consider adding it. Our Education Resources section has several excellent one-page PDFs you can print and distribute (or link to in your emails to your members). In particular, be sure everyone has a copy of Early Warning Alerts-Weather & How to Stay Informed.

Administering Your FWC Day-to-Day

Non-compliant residents in your FWC: Is there a "problem" property in your FWC, a neighbor (or absentee owner) who doesn't comply with required county abatement ordinances? Try using the resources here for implementing a 30-Day Courtesy Notice Program (download and read the documents linked below). This has been successfully used in several Firewise Communities to convince owners of "dirty" properties that they need to come into compliance with the law. Making the 30-Day Notice work.docx  guidelines for how to implement the program (MS Word docx)30-Day Clean-Up Courtesy Notice template - lot with structure.docx (MS Word docx)30-Day Clean-Up Courtesy Notice template - vacant lot.docx (MS Word docx)

Everyday Communication with your FWC Residents

-- Get customizable blank letterhead with the NFPA Firewise logo on it here in Microsoft Word docx format.. Insert your own FWC name in the header where you see "Foxwood - Slate Creek." If you can't open a Word doc, you have two options: 1) download this PDF with the NFPA logo but no FWC name above the black line, OR 2) we can provide you with a PDF that has both your FWC name and NFPA logo on it. You can print the PDF, place in your printer paper tray, then format your letter to start underneath the header. Use the Ask A Question contact form to request this, directed to Susan Rogers. Be sure to specify the name of your Firewise Community.-- Here's a great flyer from Deer Creek South Side (designed by Lorraine Gervais) which we hope to make available as a template that other FWCs can adapt. They also have a free website on Google -- check it out here.

-- Lake Wildwood FWC has provided us with customizable Microsoft Word docxs based on materials they use for Forming Neighborhood Groups. Here are a sample Meeting Invitation, Contact Roster, Coordinators Agenda, and Participants Agenda, which you can download and tweak as needed to help set up and lead meetings in your own FWC. Thank you LWW! (If you can't open a Word docx, see above for contacting Susan Rogers to get PDFs.) At the Coalition's November 2022 meeting, Sharon Allen talked about Lake Wildwood's communications with their residents, including excellent tips on motivation and communication. Here is the Powerpoint (in PDF format) of her presentation which should give you good ideas for your own FWC.

-- If your FWC maintains your own "firewise" website or Facebook page, scroll to the end of this page to see Guidelines we hope you'll follow.

-- How Do Other FWCs Communicate With Their Residents? -  a PDF summary of 36 Firewise communities that responded to a November 2019 survey asking about the methods, frequency and effectiveness of communicating firewise messages to their member households. Gives you a good idea of what others are doing (email, newsletters, etc.) and the challenges they are facing. Names of the rep who filled out the survey are included, but contact information is not provided for privacy reasons. If you want to contact a rep, please contact the Fire Safe Council to send a message to Pat Leach, the Firewise Communities Coordinator. Our Coalition does not have access to a list of all the FWC reps.

Preparing for EMERGENCY Communication with your FWC Residents

The Emergency Alert Buddy System, developed in Lake Wildwood by Virginia Gompertz, works very well for organizing your residents into small groups. Check out these materials:

You may want or need a more robust way of keeping residents connected during an emergency (beyond the Buddy System above). Three Coalition meetings have been held on Neighborhood Emergency Communications (phone tree, short-wave radio, etc.) in case of wildfire . The May 2023 video is [TBD], the March 2022 video here, and  the May 2021 recording is here. After you pull up the video, click SHOW MORE in the description to see hotlinks that allow you to jump directly to the program speakers.

From our May 2023 meeting on setting up a neighborhood radio network with the support of Nevada County ARES (see May 2023 video linked above), here are four EXAMPLE documents that Gold Hill FWC has created to help residents remember how to use the equipment. If your FWC creates its own radio network with help from Nevada County ARES group, you could use these documents as a template and just change the name of the FWC on them (they are docx and will download to your hard drive - they do NOT open in your web browser): Gold Hill Radio Watch Dual Display Guide.docx Gold Hill Radio Watch - GMRS Channels.docx Gold Hill Radio Watch - Net Guide.docx Gold Hill Radio Watch - Quick Guide to GMRS Radio specs-features.docx

The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council has also worked on this issue. Here is their website page on Neighborhood Emergency Communications, with information on two low-cost group dialing services and one FWC that has found VHF radio to be their long-term solution. The latter has a very detailed document you can download entitled, "Neighborhood Communications in Mountainous Terrain" that gives their entire history of comparing various options.

Funding for Your FWC Neighborhood Projects

-- Does your FWC need better access to water for fire suppression? Read how the Greenhorn FWC bought and installed their own waters tanks.

-- December 2022 Coalition meeting: see the video recording here (heads up, the audio is marginal, sorry). As an alternative, here are the Powerpoints (in PDF format) from the speakers:

-- Healthy Forest Funding & More -- how the Greenhorn FWC got grant funding from the County of Nevada's FEMA Resiliency funds for installation of two water tanks for fire response. Excellent Powerpoint (converted to PDF) by Dianne Marshall, presented at the December 2021 Coalition meeting.-- Shovel Ready Projects - Checklist. Gives you a basic idea of what's needed if your neighborhood has a large project that requires funding to get it done. "Shovel ready" means that if it were to get funded, you could almost immediately put a shovel in the ground and start, because you've already figured out (and obtained) the permits or permissions needed, gotten bids from contractors, etc. Helps document your project so that it can be "bundled" with other projects in grant-funding proposals by the Fire Safe Council.

NFPA Annual Reporting

Common Findings From Firewise Hazard Assessments Fire scientist Jo Ann Fites-Kaufman described the many problems she sees when she evaluates in-training Firewise Communities for their NFPA certification. Does your FWC have these problems?  (this is a Powerpoint presented at October 2019 Coalition meeting (with photos) converted to PDF)

Got Your Own Website? Check out these Communication Guidelines for Websites created and maintained by individual FWCs.

If your Firewise Community is able to create and maintain your own website:

  • The primary focus of your FWCommunity website should be to post your LOCAL FWC neighborhood/community information such as:
    • Your map, showing the boundaries of your Firewise Community
    • Your Community date of certification or when you became an "In Training" community
    • Important contact information for members of your Firewise Community
    • Community Evacuation Map w/ routes and instructions to find 2+ ways out of community

  • Please do not create your own pages with generic educational information, such as on defensible space, roadside clearing specs, emergency planning, etc. The risk is that your very local website may not be able to keep up with constantly-changing information and updated research. It is important to direct homeowners and residents to sites with the most up-to-date information from government and fire agencies. Instead, we ask that you create links to the Educational Resources page on this Coalition site plus these official websites on your local community website.