Start a New Fire Safe Council
Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils (NFSCs) are a foundation for fire preparedness in our communities, and one of the primary goals of the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is to encourage every neighborhood in the county to develop their own. Being one of our affiliated NFSCs is a great way to help us show off how committed Mendocino is to helping itself and working to mitigate fire risks, which then helps attract more funding and support for our area. Benefits for starting your own NFSC include:
- Support in launching your group, finding speakers and helping get your initial projects going.
- Information and networking opportunities through our newsletter and regular meetings for NFSC leadership — these meetings are a great source of ideas and inspiration from your peer NFSCs.
- Access to one day accident insurance for neighborhood fuels reduction work days.
- Access to our highly discounted nonprofit, bulk rates with DialMyCalls to start your own NFSC automated emergency alert system, an upgrade to the old manual phone tree.
- Access to nonprofit rates for services like Zoom.
- Early information about and priority access to training and other opportunities like free community chipper days.
- The potential to work with the MCFSC as you fiscal sponsor to so that you can fundraise and apply for grants as a nonprofit.
And … it does not cost anything. Any group organizing around fire preparedness in their community is free to call themselves a Fire Safe Council. We appreciate it when participants in our affiliated neighborhood groups choose become MCFSC dues-paying members, but it is not required.
All you need to do to start your neighborhood group is to fill in the Fire Safe Council Information Form, below, so that we know who you are and how to contact you. We also request that you drop a pin indicating your location and other information you wish to share publicly, on our Existing Councils page.
How involved your group gets in the myriad things a NFSC can tackle is entirely up to you. Neighborhood councils are what their dedicated leaders and members make them, meeting local needs with the energy and resources they have available. Our far-flung communities are incredibly diverse, and our NFSCs reflect that diversity. A NFSC might simply get neighbors together periodically to discuss and share wildfire safety preparation tips or to hear from a local authority. Or, your NFSC might choose to do more and tackle projects like:
- Organizing a manual or automated neighborhood phone tree to help make sure that everyone gets critical emergency information.
- Mapping neighborhood fire hazards gas shut-off locations.
- Organizing clean-up days for neighborhood access routes or to assist neighbors in need.
- Creating escape route maps based on different potential fire directions and identify potential safe haven locations in the neighborhood in case planned escape routes become blocked.
- Help each other assess improvements to or work on improving home defensible space.
- Identify other critical needs such as improved emergency water access or additional ingress or egress routes.
- Help document larger fuels reduction projects that require grant funding support.
NFSCs really are what their leaders make them, their processes, structures and goals vary considerably. The Fire Safe Council Handbook, from the California Fire Safe Council, offers some suggestions and guidance for reaching out and organizing your neighbors as a new council. Please take a look at the handbook, begin talking to your neighbors, and contact the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council for further assistance.