Assessing Community Risk with Research and Data Based Tools

Blog Post created by kathleenalmand Employee on Jul 11, 2017

In the past year, a number of different requests for tools to assess community risk have been presented to the research group at NFPA. 


The first was an outcome from a workshop we held in late 2015 which explored how various jurisdictions are using data for their inspection programs.   Innovative jurisdictions like Kitsap County, WA, have developed tools to characterize the risk in properties in their jurisdiction based on local data.  Understanding the value of these tools, NFPA is currently developing a Property Inspection Prioritization tool, PIP, which uses an AI approach based on feedback from enforcement community members to prioritize risk factors and generate inspection priorities. 


In response to a different need, the Research Foundation is currently conducting a project focused on reducing the risk of electric shock drowning in marinas and boatyards.  Here too, a risk assessment tool is being developed by the Foundation’s contractor, WPI, based on identifying the factors contributing to this electrical hazard.  The project is also exploring mitigation methods that may be effective in addressing this complex problem.

Most recently, in response to a number of recent catastrophic fires in highrise buildings clad in combustible wall assemblies, NFPA has just initiated a project to develop a risk assessment tool for authorities to assess the relative risk of these structures in their jurisdiction.  The project, which will be conducted by a team of global fire protection engineers by year end, will also present a range of short, medium and long term mitigation strategies.


What these projects illustrate is our emerging ability to create data-informed tools to support decision making for local jurisdictions as they assess their community’s risks.   As we roll these tools out we will learn from them andlook to see what more we can do.