BRACING FOR THE PERFECT STORM: FIRST RESPONDERS ANNOUNCE UNPREDECENTED FIRE PROTECTION OUTREACH

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Farmers Insurance Funds "Before the Threat" 2009 Door-To-Door Preparedness Campaign Across San Diego County

May 25, 2009 (San Diego)--Fire or inferno? It’s not if, but when.San Diego County residents are urged to prepare for what could well be that “perfect fire storm.” A continued drought, thousands of acres of aged unburned brush throughout the County, and Santa Ana winds have created a "high alert" situation that demands an unprecedented effort, fire officials report. Now the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association and Farmers Insurance Group have joined forces in a public/private partnership to launch a massive, regional and unified wildfire prevention and preparedness effort: “Before The Threat 2009.”

Starting in mid-July, 400,000 “Before The Threat” DVD prevention and preparedness packages will be delivered door to door throughout the County’s high-fire risk areas.
“During the 2007 fires, we saw that defensible space works. The homes that were still standing in the fire perimeter area all had defensible space. The 1,700 homes that burned had a flaw in their defensible space and that’s what we are hoping to address with our campaign. We are asking residents to take action now before the threat,” said Ron Lane Director of the County Office of Emergency Services.

Teams of First Responders from 65 fire agencies will be joined by an army of at least 3,000 volunteers from all walks of San Diego County to distribute the information.

“The fires of 2003 and 2007 will never allow us to forget the importance of a well-prepared, well-educated community, said Augie Ghio, President of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association. “After reviewing the Before The Threat preparedness package, residents will have a better understanding of what to do before, during and after a wild fire.”

This first-time regional effort is made possible through a $200,000 grant from the Farmers Insurance Group.

“Farmers Insurance is proud to be a supporter of the San Diego County of Emergency Services and the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association. We know the Farmers grant will work to save lives and property in San Diego County. Working together we all can make a difference,” said Charles Dabelgott, California Southern State Executive Director of the Farmers Insurance Group.

Volunteer San Diego is also joining the Partnership by helping to organize the massive number of volunteers this project will depend on.