The Ready, Set, Go! program was launched nationally at Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) 2011. Ready, Set, Go! offers tools and resources for local responders to teach individuals who live in high-risk areas how to best prepare themselves and their properties against wildland fire threats.
The launch also unveiled the program’s online portal, www.wildlandfireRSG.org, which offers local program participants educational resources, tools to manage the program, news and connections with other program participants and partners.
“Ready, Set, Go! is a dynamic program which was embraced by the firefighters and the citizens of Pigeon Forge,” said Chief Tony Watson of the Pigeon Forge (TN) Fire Department, one of nine fire departments that have spent the last year piloting the program. “Through public-service announcements, informational packets and community outreach, we prepared the public for the threat of wildland fire. Through wildland training with state and federal resources, we prepared our firefighters to be the ambassadors of this program. Community stakeholders have partnered with fire department resources, and their involvement continues to shape the structure of our area.”
Ready, Set, Go! provides fire departments and other public-safety agencies with the tools, resources and guidance necessary to deliver the wildland fire safety message to individuals at the local level. The program is a three-step process that teaches homeowners to create their own action plan of preparedness, have situational awareness and leave early in the event of a fire—all with the goal of significantly increasing the safety of residents and firefighters.
The three-step process is easy to remember and implement:
Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Plan escapes routes. Make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media and your local fire department.
Go – Leave early! Follow your personal action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.
“While this program can be implemented by any local response agency, we are encouraging fire departments to step up and lead this effort in their communities,” said Chief Jack Parow, president and chairman of the board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). “The fire service is uniquely positioned to understand the fire-risk environment and is typically a trusted voice that resonates with community members.”
Ready, Set, Go! was developed for national rollout by the IAFC with support from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fire Administration, U.S. Department of the Interior, Firewise and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). The program works in complimentary and collaborative fashion with Firewise and other existing wildland fire public education efforts. It amplifies their messages to individuals to better achieve the common goal we all share of fire-adapted communities.