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NCFPD board hears summary of community risk reduction program review

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

A Cal State University San Marcos program reviewed the North County Fire Protection District’s community risk reduction program, and a presentation on the findings was part of the July 26 NCFPD board meeting.

Public outreach and communications specialist Dani Vargas gave the presentation. The NCFPD board did not take a vote on the item. “It was just a synopsis of what their findings were,” Vargas said.

“I am just really thankful for the students at Cal State San Marcos for their diligent work, and I’m really hoping we can implement a lot of communications changes they suggested,” Vargas said. “What I’m really looking to do is bolster our community outreach.”

The university’s College of Business Administration has a Senior Experience Program in which a team of five graduating business students work as consultants. The fire district applied to be studied by the Senior Experience Program in January and learned during the first week of February that the NCFPD request had been accepted.

The Cal State San Marcos students worked with the NCFPD during the spring 2022 semester. The activity included development of metrics to enhance the effectiveness of the district’s practices, outreach, and marketing.

The fire district’s community risk reduction activities include education, evacuation routes, fire prevention, fire safety information, and providing information about risk reduction in general with such matters as weather and roadway safety. The recommended implementation improvements included community outreach in the Spanish-speaking and elderly communities and identification of issues between the NCFPD and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Senior Experience report included a marketing plan. The recommendations included promoting community risk reduction through advertisements, social media, and the NCFPD website. The marketing plan for Spanish-speaking residents includes creating blog posts and videos in Spanish and posting those on the NCFPD website. Print information is more likely to reach the elderly than social media, so the recommendation is to promote items through newspapers or pamphlets and to prepare handouts with no new terms or abbreviations.

“I really hope that this is something that reaches those two communities,” Vargas said.

The recommendations include videos and blogs on the NCFPD website as the primary implementation for tips and instructions on how to prepare for various emergencies and ensuring that the Spanish versions are accessible on the website. The recommendations also included creating public service announcements in print.

“I’ve already started,” Vargas said.

CalFire addresses wildland fire protection including structural protection, and the marketing plan for differentiating the local fire district from the state agency includes informing the community on the areas the North County district protects and covers as well as informing the community of other NCFPD services.


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