How to Prepare

Firewise USA Program Benefits

Your Neighborhood Can Benefit From FIREWISE USA Recognition!

There are numerous benefits for residents who reside in a recognized Firewise USA site. 

Here are a few:

  • Framework for action

The Firewise USA program provides your neighbors with a framework for reducing the risk of wildfire for the entire community. Meeting the criteria for becoming a Firewise USA™ site helps communities get organized and find direction for their wildfire safety efforts. The criteria help get a community started toward annual, systematic action to reduce their risks from wildfires.

  • Learn about wildfire

Fire history has shown Santa Barbara County residents live in and around an environment with frequent wildland fires. As neighbors work through the process, they learn about local wildfire risks in the community and the simple steps they can take to reduce them. They connect with experts – local firefighters, state forestry professionals, and national researchers – to continue to learn about fire and find resources to accomplish fire-safe actions. 

  • Peace of mind

People feel empowered when they take their fate into their own hands. Knowing they are using the best information available and actually taking steps to reduce the risk of damage from fire helps people start to feel safer in their environment and in their homes. Having a plan for what to do in the event of a fire helps people become calmer, think clearer, and better prepared to take appropriate actions quickly during an emergency.

  • Community-Building

As neighbors get together to do work, they build a stronger bond with each other. Activity can help rally people to a common cause for the good of the overall neighborhood. This strengthening of community ties can benefit residents in many ways, and is especially helpful during an emergency.

  • Build citizen pride

While the work can be fun, it isn’t always easy. Neighbors work hard in communities to implement mitigation actions and are rightly proud when they achieve national recognition for their efforts.

  • Get publicity

The program provides communities with metal signs, a plaque and other materials that can be presented publicly to honor their status as a Firewise USA recognition site. These recognition ceremonies are great ways to shine the spotlight on community efforts. News media find this to be a great story to cover, and the national program features community stories regularly on the website and its publications. All this publicity results not only in satisfaction for the residents involved, but also provides one more way to reach large numbers of people with information about wildfire safety.

  • Access to funding and assistance

Preference is sometimes given to Firewise USA sites over other candidates when allocations of grant money are made for wildfire safety or fuel mitigation. The reason is that there are invariable more requests than available funds in grant programs. Officials tend to have more confidence in communities that have demonstrated the foresight of becoming a recognized Firewise USA site.

  • Insurance discount for USAA members

The Departments of Insurance in the states of California, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Utah have approved filings by USAA to give homeowners insurance discounts to USAA members living in communities recognized by the Firewise USA™ program.

Much of the material found in this section has been reproduced from NFPA’s website, www.nfpa.org/Firewise. © NFPA 

Thank you to FIRESafe MARIN for the use of material from their site: www.firesafemarin.org/firewise

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