Wildfire season might be coming to a close but COVID-19 is here to stay in the meantime. FireSmart is a shared responsibility that requires your attention even while we’re social distancing, washing our hands and being kind, calm and safe.
Here are some ways that you can help create a FireSmart BC while keeping you and your family safe.
- Download the updated FireSmart Begins At Home Manual and learn more about FireSmarting your home, neighbourhood and community.
- Watch the numerous video resources that are available on the FireSmart BC website.
- Complete FireSmart 101 – a free online self-directed course on all things FireSmart.
- Download the FireSmart Canada Guide to Landscaping to learn about new ways to fireproof your property through landscaping.
- Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 1.5 metres of your home’s foundation. As time permits, continue up to a 10-metre distance around the home. Dispose of collected debris in appropriate trash receptacles.
- Get out your measuring tape and seeing how close wood piles are located to your home. If closer than 10 metres, relocate and move the pile at least 10 metres from structures.
- Take note of your gutters the next time it rains. Are they clogged? Time to inspect and clean them.
- Sweep porches and decks to clear them of leaves and pine needles. Rake under decks, porches, sheds and play structures.
- Mow your grass to a height of 10 centimetres or less.
- Remove items stored under decks and porches and relocate them to a storage shed, garage, or basement. Gasoline cans and portable propane tanks should never be stored indoors and should be located away from the home.
- Download the FireSmart Begins at Home app (at the App Store or at Google Play) and undertake a structure ignition-zone assessment.
Are you working on FireSmart under the Community Resiliency Investment program banner? Here are some activities you can safely engage in:
- Door Hanger Campaign – conduct a door hanging campaign which would have information regarding the FireSmart program and where homeowners can find more information on the program.
- FireSmart Tips Document – send out the electronic version of the document. Ask residents to take action on the steps, document and give them a prize for completing those steps.
- Neighbourhood Bin Removal Program – encourage residents to remove fuel on their properties and follow social distancing measures (i.e. limit to five homeowners per bin).
- Create a FireSmart dedicated webpage – support the creation of a FireSmart page on your local website. Share it via social media!
- Chipping day – host a socially distanced chipping day. Residents leave limbs and branches at the end of their driveway and the chipping truck drives by picking up yard trimmings with no contact with residents.
- Neighbourhood limb clearing day – residents leave branches at the end of their driveway. FireSmart volunteers collect limbs for proper disposal, only family members work in their own bubbles.
- Neighbourhood Education Sessions – organize a neighbourhood education walk with residents. Allow for social distancing. Everyone has their own neighbourhood assessment to follow along with during the session.
- Resource blitz – increase your library of FireSmart resources and make sure they are available in public libraries, community centres, real estate offices, city hall, band offices etc.
- FireSmart webinars – secure funding to support or hose a webinar or online meeting regarding FireSmart in your area.
- Advertise and educate – secure funding to support paid advertisement in local papers, movie theatres, billboards (paper and electronic) etc. that educate people on the FireSmart principles and how to take steps to get involved.
- Decal your vehicles – order FireSmart BC Vehicle Decals and make sure that everyone sees the FireSmart BC brand and wants to learn how to get involved. Check out FireSmart BC promotional items for more information.
- Stay safe in style – purchase FireSmart BC face masks for your crew! Check out FireSmart BC promotional items for more information.
- Take your activities outside – purchase a FireSmart Tent so you can conduct a FireSmart presentation socially distanced outside.
Some frequently asked questions
How does a Local FireSmart Representative (LFR) conduct a home assessment with social distancing?
- The LFR arrives at the home wearing a mask and requests that the homeowner wear a mask if they want to participate in the assessment
- LFR takes ‘before’ photos of the house and property
- LFR and Homeowner have their own assessment form to ensure social distancing is followed
- LFR returns to the office and sends the assessment to the homeowner via email. The email outlines mitigation recommendations the homeowner can engage in increase the likelihood their property would survive a wildfire (can also align with a rebate program)
- Homeowner completes the recommendations and takes ‘after’ photos showing the work has been completed
- Homeowner sends pictures back to the LFR
How can you utilize the FireSmart BC Education Kit without sharing materials or is there a way to share them in a safe manner?
- Break the students into small groups
- Sanitize material after each group is done with the activity
- Have students point to what they want to move, like for the magnet board, and have the instructor moves the pieces
- Take the activities outside with the students
- Purchase additional kits to allow for more smaller group presentations to occur
- Offer a virtual classroom to explore the FireSmart BC Education Kit
Let us know if you have questions and we’d love to help you stay FireSmart during these challenging times. Reach out at [email protected]
Be kind, be calm, be safe, be FireSmart!