Community wildfire risk reduction is more effective when the whole community is involved. Getting homeowners, civic groups and religious institutions involved goes a long way, but another audience that can be rewarding to work with is youth groups.
As many schools now require community service hours as part of graduation requirements, fire departments and community groups have a prime opportunity to engage teens as a renewable resource. Recent research shows teens in wildfire-prone areas want to know more about the risks PDF 960 KB and how they can help their communities and families prepare.
Working with kids has the added benefit of teaching them early about the realities of wildfire hazards. When they become established members of a community at risk from wildfires, they will remember the work they did as kids and will likely take their responsibilities more seriously. Getting kids involved is ultimately a long-term investment.
The National Fire Protection Association’s TakeAction campaign gives young adults age-appropriate tools to use when helping their communities. TakeAction’s list of videos, service project ideas and other resources give teens ideas of what they can do and where to start. Adult program directors can also use these resources for ideas, tailoring service programs to the age group and setting projects up for success.