If your community is not a recognized Firewise USA site, we will help you get going. With wildfire risk rising, time spent managing your local risks is the least expensive insurance you can get.
"Every year, devastating wildfires burn across the United States. At the same time, a growing number of people are living where wildfires are a real risk. While these fires will continue to happen, there are things you can do to protect your home and neighborhood as well as your family’s safety. The Firewise USA® program is here to help you get started."
Learn more at the Firewise USA site.
Or just contact us and we will walk through the process together.
Being a Firewise USA site means you are using a proven method to become safer from wildfire.
Your community has a plan that will improve over time as you focus on risks and eliminate them.
This page exists to get you started or keep you progressing as a Firewise community.
If you live within the Woodside Fire Protection District (WFPD), you are part of the WPV-Ready Emergency Preparedness program. That's this whole website.
Within our district, we organize neighborhoods into "Ready Communities." Many of these Ready Communities are already, or soon will be, Firewise USA sites. If you do not already have a local leader, you might want to be the organizer, and use this Firewise project as the effort that rallies your neighbors together.
Find your Ready Community on our Find My Leaders page.
Learn about WPV-Ready on our About WPV-Ready page.
Learn about WFPD, our Fire District, on their website.
A Firewise USA site has taken a hard look at local risks in their well-defined area.
Now they know which risks are the most dangerous for them, and which are easiest to address. Once you have the numbers, you know where to focus the community. For instance, if 95% of the homes have fire-resistant roofs, but 85% of the homes have flammable brush or other material within 5 feet of the outside wall, the community will want to work on clearing those "home zones" as a group project first.
The application process is simple.
We are here to walk you through the whole thing.
To learn about the Firewise application process, you can download the Firewise Jump Start document.
When it comes time to apply to the Firewise program, you will create a login on the Firewise Portal, and enter the information described in our Firewise Application Details document.
If you live within the WFPD, your neighborhood almost certainly already meets the commitments for risk reduction and community outreach.
The new things you will do are also simple:
||Assess the risk in your community. There are simple lists of specific things to look for, like home wood siding or heavy dead brush buildup in the yard.
||Make a plan to reduce risk. We have templates. Cal Fire has a required template for California communities. We have great samples.
||Get a group of neighbors together to be your "official team." They keep projects moving, track receipts, and keep the online profile current.
There are a couple of other "little things" that go into the process. We will work together to go through the list. For instance, the application needs a map and an "area assessment" by a wildfire professional expert. In the WFPD, this is our Fire Marshal, or someone designated by the Fire Marshal. The assessment team might also include a Cal Fire representative, someone from the local Town or County administration, and so forth. The more "eyes on it" we can get, the better the whole thing works.
Below are some resources that will save you time, give you ideas for projects, and keep your Firewise efforts moving.
In California, a number of insurers are offering discounts to Firewise sites.
Learn more at the California Insurance Commissioner's site.
Get a copy of the Firewise Community Assessment Template here.
When we applied in our community, we provided much more than was requested in the template, and that just slowed us down.
Get a copy of the Firewise program's "Time/Expense Investment Examples" here.
Get a list of Educational Outreach Ideas here.
Get a copy of the 3-Year Plan template required in California here.
Get a copy of the 3-Year plan used by our Woodside Hills community here.
About 90% of the plan can be copied into yours. Then just tune yours to fit your community best. This version is not exactly the California template. We found that to be too inflexible, so we created what you find here with exactly the same headings and numbering. It was accepted in the Woodside Hills 2022 update.
Above are all the simple checklists and quick-reads that will get you entirely up-to-speed on the Firewise USA program.
Below are some extremely useful resources that can help you dig into the details, when you feel like you want to know all the details. There are some great resources, tips, and tricks below. Please try to give them a read sometime. But if you never go past this line, you will have all you need to become a Firewise USA site.
Cal Fire has a great page about Firewise, with very useful downloads on the left side of the page. (Note that "Zone 0," the area from 0 to 5 feet from your home, is not in diagrams, because it is not “official fire code” yet. That becomes official in 2023.) The "Wildfire Action Plan" has great explanations of many details of home hardening and defensible space, You will get many great ideas for individual residents and community projects.
Cal Fire's Firewise page is at...
Cal Fire has a great page about "defensible space" too.
Fire Safe San Mateo County works "to reduce hazardous vegetation, create defensible space around structures, and educate the public about wildfire fire hazards, fire behavior, and fuel reduction through the guidance of local agencies and public/private partnerships." It is a registered nonprofit that maintains a membership of professional firefighting and municipal leaders. Learn more about its membership here...
They have monthly meetings with very informative presentations. Here is a link to a recent presentation from the Cal Fire liaison for Firewise.
The state-wide California Fire Safe Council also has some great guides for home hardening and defensible space.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) does research for the insurance industry. They have a wildfire research page where you can see actual tests of structures that have been "fire hardened" versus not hardened, when they are assaulted by an "ember storm," which is what you get when a wildfire approaches, creating its own wind patterns.
They also have a website that is more "public education oriented." Their "Be Wildfire Ready" program provides simple lists of projects that will help you achieve your Firewise goals.
Get their Home Preparedness Guide here.
Visit their Wildfire Preparedness Projects page here...
Visit their page about Fire Resistant Landscaping for your Home here...
For more information about wildfire, including evacuation and communication planning, visit our Ready-Set-Go resources here...
Contact us with any question or need.
Seriously, it's why we exist.
You can call our fire district’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Selena Brown, at 650-423-1406.
You can call our WPV-Ready hotline at 650-382-7541.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also send messages from the website, once you are registered.
Then login and use this page to send messages...
Just pick “Emergency Preparedness Coordinator” in the “Send To” list.