Piggybacking off last week’s blog on wildfire preparedness, local government and fire departments often work together to help communities mitigate risk. As mentioned in the blog, great examples of these are Fire Risk Reduction Communities (FRRC) and Firewise Communities. FRRC’s are communities specifically in California. They are located in a state responsibility area or a very high fire hazard severity zone are eligible. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) approves Firewise Communities. Both of these areas must meet best practices for local fire planning and prevention. Let’s take a look!
Fire Risk Reduction Communities
The California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection developed the FRRC List. The board maintains the list every two years and eligible agencies and governments must reapply during that time.
Fire departments are major advocates for community risk reduction programs. While fire prevention, inspections, and public education remain integral parts of fire department activities, the FRRC notion takes a more comprehensive approach to improve civilian and firefighter safety. The following are just a handful of programs that can be associated with the program: smoke alarm installation, fall prevention, water safety, community paramedicine, and emergency preparedness.
The NFPA Firewise Communities are located throughout the US. The program has nearly 1,000 active member communities in 40 states. The NFPA publishes an interactive map to show each participating community. These communities take appropriate measures to become more resistant to wildfire structural damage. An online Firewise Toolkit, including a Firewise tips checklist for homeowners, is available on their website. Firewise strategies include minimizing the risk of home ignition by evaluating homes’ landscapes, thinning trees and brush, choosing fire-resistant plants, selecting ignition-resistant building materials, and positioning structures away from slopes. In addition, communities follow a systematic approach to organizing and implementing a Firewise mitigation plan in their neighborhood. Specific criteria can be found on their website.
Firewise sites and FRRC communities can receive preference over other candidates when allocations of grant money are made for wildfire safety or fuel mitigation. The reason is that there are invariably more requests than available funds when grants are available through state or federal agencies. If requests are equally worthy, some officials tend to have more confidence in communities that have demonstrated the foresight of becoming a recognized Firewise and/or FRRC area. Additionally, as mentioned in the last week’s blog, insurers in California will be required to offer a discount and/or new rate filings for homeowners that fall within these communities.
How can RedZone help?
RedZone is here to help insurers adhere to the new guidelines that start in March. Our RZRisk product has a new capability to identify policies inside these communities. This enables insurers to see specific changes needed to comply with the regulation. But also, take a look at their aggregated impacted business. RedZone takes this a step further by offering a platform to help underwriting and/or mitigation programs track homeowners’ efforts. Ultimately – rewarding communities that are helping to mitigate wildfire threats! Contact info@RedZone.co for more information.