Community Risk Reduction as defined by NFPA correlating committee on professional qualifications

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on May 13, 2014

One steadily rising phrase being used in fire and emergency services as well as emergency management circles is Community Risk Reduction or CRR.

DictionaryWhile this phrase has its roots in business and management, those who are pro-active in community safety and response as it relates to natural or made-made disasters are advancing this concept. What is unique are the similarities being considered in the less-traditional or less-considered aspects of emergency response and support.

From a traditional emergency preparedness and response perspective a community risk might raise concerns for a city that rests on an earthquake fault. Significant resources, time, money and effort are streamed into developing plans to prevention loss of life and mitigate the circumstances.

Consider the community that in its risk assessment recognizes that teen pregnancy is becoming an epidemic. Emergency response in the traditional sense may not recognize this as a primary concern. It’s been suggested that it is a concern. For a number of reasons ranging from a lack of pre-natal care to advanced pre-hospital care, the EMS provider will be involved in and without proper awareness and action will “burden” the system. It will be the EMS provider who will be taxed and thus a risk to the community. From a pro-active approach the EMS provider and hospital and ob-gyn professionals could work together to balance the “threat” to community risk.

Recently, the Technical Committee (TC) on Public Fire Educator Professional Qualifications, chaired by Mr. Ernest Grant, was completing its revision of NFPA 1035, Standard on Fire and Life Safety Educator, Public Information Officer, Youth Firesetter Intervention Specialist and Youth Firesetter Program Manager Professional Qualifications, 2015 edition. One item they accomplished, based on the previous edition, was the conversion from “risk reduction” to “community risk reduction”. This not only included textual changes and the need to incorporate a definition for CRR.

The Technical Committee on Fire Marshal Professional Qualifications, chaired by Mr. Paul Valentine, found itself addressing the same topic as it was revising NFPA 1037 Standard for Fire Marshal Professional Qualifications. After reviewing the NFPA 1035 definition, the TC for Fire Marshal could not address the CRR issue using that definition. They began their journey to develop a definition unique for them.

All Professional Qualifications Technical Committees and documents are overseen by the Correlating Committee (CC) on Professional Qualifications. This committee is chaired by Mr. Bill Peterson. One of Mr. Peterson’s common concerns is that Pro-Qual documents should have as much in common including format, definitions and terminology.

The CC reviewed the documents in revision and addressed the need to clarify the definition of CRR. Utilizing the common threads established in other NFPA documents, including the recent efforts by TCs Public Fire Educator and Fire Marshal Pro-Qual, the CC has established a definition which each TC that addresses CRR is encouraged to use. The following definition has been approved by the Correlating Committee on Professional Qualifications:  

Community Risk Reduction. Programs, actions, and services used by a community which prevent or mitigate the loss of life, property, and resources associated with life safety, fire, and other disasters within a community.

Annex Explanatory Material: Community risk reduction can be achieved through the adoption of prevention or mitigation initiatives, policies, protocols, and standards to address specific problems. Actions would imply that a specific plan of operation is in place and practiced. Services would incorporate fire, police, emergency medical services, and other community services that could be called upon to address the specific risk.    

The CC believes that this definition encompasses the vast concerns that emergency services, allied professional and related services and fields would recognize as it relates to Community Risk Reduction.

-Tom McGowan