WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Leaders of the nation's fire service community today pledged to help Project Impact build disaster-resistant communities. In signing an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during a ceremony on Capitol Hill, fire service personnel across the country became part of changing the way America deals with disasters - placing the focus on prevention before disaster strikes.
"It is clear the fire service's ongoing efforts to reduce the nation's fire damage should be part of Project Impact, " said James Lee Witt, FEMA director. "As first responders to all types of emergencies and disasters, their involvement will bring an important source of grassroots support for building disasters resistant communities."
Witt and 20 organizations representing the fire services signed an agreement today forming the Project Impact Fire Services Partnership for Disaster Prevention. The fire service community has long been a vital part of the disaster-resistance effort, bearing fire prevention efforts in their local communities for some time. Now, their commitment to disaster-resistance will be cemented - further reaffirming the shared vision of reducing fire damage in communities across America.
Project Impact is a national initiative designed to challenge the country to undertake actions that protect families, businesses and communities by reducing the effects of natural disasters. At the core of these efforts is the belief that we can come together to create active public-private partnerships that will build disaster-resistant communities.
Since its creation in 1997, 118 communities have joined on as Project Impact communities - committing themselves to this spirit of disaster-resistance. The Project Impact communities of Washington, D.C.; Trenton, N.J.; Flathead County, Mont.; Centerville, Utah; Oakland, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Clear Creek County, Colo.; and Libby, Mont. have significant fire prevention activities as their main focus in disaster-prevention.
As Project Impact furthers this national awareness and outreach initiative within the fire-prevention community, more Americans are learning that fire deaths and damage can be reduced.
Project Impact communities are already working on fire prevention. They include Washington, DC and Trenton, New Jersey. Washington is focused on a new Fire And Arson Prevention Program. Trenton plans to reduce the number and severity of fires in row homes and vacant buildings by implementing fire prevention measures and capital improvements.
More information on Project Impact is available online from the FEMA website at www.fema.gov/impact.