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Multi-audience wildfire survey shows gaps in wildfire risk reduction education and access to resources

QUINCY, Mass. (KION-TV) -- A new national survey from the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has found that only half of homeowners and renters know how to reduce wildfire risks to their homes. Additionally, only 43% of surveyed residents know where to find wildfire prevention resources.

Residents, fire departments and local government agencies in California and Oregon were surveyed to gauge their perceptions of the state's wildfire problems and how to address fire threats.

The final report was released on Monday called “Stakeholder Perceptions of Wildfire Mitigation for Homes: Multi-Audience Survey Research,” and it exposed the need for better wildfire prevention education. It also illustrated a need for more access to pertinent information and resources when it comes to wildfire reduction.

“While the survey shows that residents overwhelmingly understand their wildfire risks, few people are conducting all the measures needed to mitigate them, and most aren’t doing the work as often as they should,” said Michele Steinberg, director of NFPA’s Wildfire Division. “We need to pull all available levers to help motivate residents to action. In spite of all the funding and support available from government and private organizations, most residents aren’t getting the message about these important resources.”

Also, only three percent of surveyed residents knew about government grants, insurance discounts and other wildfire risk reduction incentives. The report stated that the people who are aware of these resources, however, are more likely to implement wildfire safety efforts.

The survey also showed that 79% of residents were somewhat motivated to learn more about wildfire mitigation and 25% were very motivated to learn more. It also highlighted that 79-to-91% of residents performed some type of vegetation maintenance mitigation with 63-to-79% of people performing these actions once per year.

More findings included 76% of surveyed jurisdictions as not having enough resources and/or funding to help property owners, in addition to 83% of surveyed jurisdictions as lacking funds and resources to help their communities, according to the report.

Finally, the study showed that 52% of fire departments have programs to assist residents in implementing vegetation management and 35% have home hardening/structure modification.

“Overall, the survey findings offer a mix of encouraging information about what motivates residents to mitigate wildfire risks on and around their homes, along with persistent obstacles that tend to hold them back,” said Steinberg. “These results help identify ways to increase participation in wildfire risk reduction and where we need to break through barriers, with the ultimate goal of empowering residents to become more proactively engaged in wildfire mitigation.”

NFPA says that it plans to use the survey findings to develop information and messaging to better motivate residential wildfire risk reduction efforts and close the information gap.

More information, including the full downloadable report, can be found at

Article Topic Follows: California News
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Jeanette Bent

I’ve been an international professional writer and performer for over 25 years. With a background in journalism, creative writing, dance and aerial, I find the intersection between all of these skills lands itself somewhere under the term “storytelling.”


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