In this modern digital age, technology and personal electronic devices are ever-present in our lives. Because of this, education of the public has shifted to mobile-based information services. Several organizations have realized this and are utilizing “apps” to raise public awareness and to educate the public.
The article I found, App raises public awareness as wildfires rage, is a review of the CAL FIRE: Ready for wildfire app developed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention. The app, which is available free of charge for both IOS and Android phones, “provides tools and steps to help prepare your family, home, and property from a wildfire.” Additionally, the app gives users the ability to access information about active California wildfires and offers tips on wildfire prevention, safety, and evacuation. While the app’s location based alerts focus’s only on California, the premise and information available is useful for any location prone to wildfires. The app works on the “Ready, Set, Go” three step model which teaches the user how to maintain and harden your home against wildfire, create and prepare a wildfire action plan, and recognize what to do when wildfire strikes. A “preparedness meter” tracks progress and gives your progress visual representation.
The key take-away points from this resource are: prevention, preparation, and action. The app, which I downloaded and explored for a while, highlights the importance of active wildfire prevention through creating defensible spaces and “hardening” homes and/or property. Additionally it calls for individuals and families to prepare wildfire action plans, emergency supply kits, and communication plans. Lastly it stresses the importance of evacuation before conditions become dangerous.
I selected this resource because I think it represents the shift away from traditional education resources. I think the use of an app makes information easier to distribute to a larger population as well as more accessible to a wider range of people. This resource is an example of developing an effective method for public education about a hazard because it raises public awareness and promotes the public to develop strategies to better prepare for future hazards.