NFPA Receives Grant from State Farm for Wildfire Preparation Efforts
February 17, 2014
Funds to support wildfire risk reduction projects for communities
Nature is both beautiful and dangerous. As more and more people chose to live in and around the forests and grasslands of this country, the challenge of preparing communities for the devastation of wildfire becomes more complex. To help communities prepare residents for the possibility of a wildfire, State Farm® is providing funding to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Wildland Fire Operations Division. Local organizations will receive monetary awards through this grant to support and implement wildfire risk reduction projects.
State Farm has a long history of proactive wildfire safety education to its policyholders in high-risk regions, including the use of NFPA's Firewise materials and concepts. "This is a valuable partnership to help save lives and protect property. It just fits with our ‘Good Neighbor’ beliefs,” said Vickie Hodges, Loss Mitigation Analyst with State Farm Insurance. “It is appropriate for State Farm, the largest home insurer in the United States, to take a leadership role in homeowner safety and property protection.” The Bloomington, IL-based company insures one out of five homes in the U.S.
NFPA’s wildfire division is sponsoring two high-profile national campaigns aimed at encouraging residents to take action to make homes and neighborhoods safer. State Farm is providing monetary support for both campaigns. The Firewise Challenge is a campaign that began in 2013 as a way to encourage increased neighborhood participation in the national Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program. Communities in 10 states with the most participation will receive funds provided by the State Farm grant to implement safety projects. Five communities in Arkansas, Washington, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey are receiving a grand prize of $5,000 to be used for mitigation activities, including chipping of brush, removal of vegetative material, and similar activities that will reduce wildfire hazards. Five additional communities in Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, Tennessee, and Maine will receive a runner-up prize of $900 to use on safety gear, tools, or mitigation projects.
The second major campaign focusing on wildfire education is the first Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, slated to take place on May 3, 2014. The National Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live. A portion of the State Farm grant funding will be awarded to 20 neighborhood wildfire safety projects being implemented during the May 3 event. Information on how to apply for an award can be found at www.wildfireprepday.org.
"What's exciting about State Farm’s funding support goes beyond mere dollars," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “NFPA’s public education goal is to empower residents to take action with regard to fire safety. One way they accept ideas and act on them is to hear the safety message from multiple, credible sources. Working on wildfire safety issues with such an influential partner like State Farm sends a very powerful message to both of our customers."
Wildland fires are a serious threat to lives and property. The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) cites more than 72,000 U.S. communities are now at risk from wildfire. The combination of drought, mild temperatures, high winds, and an excess of dried vegetation in forests and grasslands has made fire seasons progressively worse over the past 50 years. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), 2012 saw one of the worst fire seasons in decades with over nine million acres burned.
For more information about the Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program Challenge and National Wildfire Preparedness Day, please visit www.nfpa.org/wildfire.
About State Farm®
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life, and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com or in Canada www.statefarm.ca.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.