August, 2013 Colorado's Crystal Wildfire survivor briefs Summit County homeowners

Homeowners are the first responders to an emergency — not firefighters or police.

"Whether it's a fire or medical emergency, the minutes you have between identifying the situation and fire or cops show up may be a matter of life and death," said Forest Health Taskforce member Howard Hallman. The more homeowners are prepared for an emergency, such as a wildfire, the more likely they will survive and rebuild their lives, he said. Colorado resident and wildfire survivor Linda Masterson urged the audience at the final meeting of the homeowners wildfire series to prepare for the worst. She, like many Coloradans, realized that a local wildfire was a risk. But, like many residents, she also made excuses to put wildfire preparation off. "Failing to do everything you can to reduce those risks is not brave — it's just being reckless," she said. "I hope you leave here tonight ready to do all those things you've putting off. It's the things you didn't do and could have done that (are) going to come back to haunt you." READ MORE