R|com Creative is working with the Los Angeles Fire Department to create a new series of education materials based around an important initiative called Ready, Set, Go! Essentially, there has been some ongoing debate about the value of staying at your residence, as opposed to evacuating. In Southern California, we live in not only earthquake country, but wildfire country as well. And when they strike, people often prefer to stay and protect their property.
The initiative for not leaving, often referred to as “Stay and Defend,” was gaining ground earlier this year with several departments, as there have been some stories of people who have elected to ignore officials and as a result, participated in saving their structures. It’s important to remember that many homes don’t burn as a result of the fire front in a wildfire. They burn because of spot fires that start as the fire moves through, and without resources to suppress those spot fires, the home burns.
Just as this “Stay and Defend” option began to get people’s attention, Australia suffered through a terrible wildfire incident and many lives were lost. Australia has been known for its serious wildfire devastation, including Hobart in 1967 (1400 homes lost, 62 dead); Victoria in 1983 (2400 homes lost, 71 dead), Canberra in 2003 (500 homes lost, 5 dead), and Victoria in 2009 (3000 homes lost, 173 dead). Many of the victims in the Victoria fires this year elected to stay behind, and then attempted to evacuate, but too late. They were caught on the road and died.
Ready, Set, Go! as an initiative is being supported by a wide array of Southern California emergency services agencies. The Los Angeles Fire Department’s position is clear: If there is a wildfire, prepare your home and family, get set to evacuate if required, and when asked, or even before that, leave the area. Your home can be saved. Once you die, coming back is apparently problematic.
Our program will include a series of components – and it will highlight the use of digital technology and Web 2.0 capabilities. A video/DVD will tell the story of why its important to leave and how to prepare. A brochure will be available to schools, senior centers, council district offices, and LA City Fire Stations. Separately, a digital magazine will be created and it will be available to anyone who is interested in the Ready, Set, Go initiative. And finally, information will be available via the MySafe:LA public education website.
We’re enthused about the project, and once complete, are committed to seeing it reach as many people as possible, so the citizens of Los Angeles can be properly prepared.