How do you build community and encourage rebuilding when a Town is 95% destroyed by the most devastating wildfire in California history?
In November of 2018, the most destructive wildfire in recent U.S. history, dubbed the Camp Fire, raged through the town of Paradise, Ca (population 27,000), destroying 95% of the town. Thousands fled through flames and falling debris to safety. In the following days, residents were displaced throughout 49 states around the US as they discovered the fate of their homes and consequently began to battle insurance companies and emotional trauma.
Soon after, Blue Flamingo was retained to create a communication strategy to keep residents informed and ultimately, keep the ties that bind them to their ridge community.
Encourage residents to return home despite the trauma many encountered coupled with major rebuilding hurdles.
Blue Flamingo designed and implemented a program to support residents by simplifying the home rebuilding process where possible and providing quick-turn information and education using a range of communication platforms. Currently displaced residents were surveyed to better understand needs. Blue Flamingo hosted Community Information Meetings in-person, live online and on social media channels, and created grassroots community support groups and communication channels to reach out to residents wherever they might be. Weekly PR updates and story ideas were provided to local and national media outlets, and public official media appearances were coordinated by Blue Flamingo. Social media and email campaigns were initiated to keep residents updated on rebuild information, provide points of community connection and help facilitate their return home.
Blue Flamingo integrated its efforts across multiple communication channels. Updates were distributed weekly to TV and radio outlets, across social media and via email. Distribution to local partners amplified the reach even further. These efforts reached an estimated 120,000 TV viewers and 100,000 radio listeners monthly, Weekly emails reach a list of 3,900 recipients. An ever-growing social platform of 20,000+ followers are kept in the loop on a daily basis. Text messages reached tens of thousands. Community events attracted up to 500 attendees each month and the accompanying live feed views totaled in the hundreds. The Town has received building permit applications more than quadrupled what was originally projected. Regular reports were provided to the Town Manager as well as public reporting at Town Council meetings. Efforts were executed within budget and on time.