If you are like me when the summer season rolls around you are knee deep (at least) in carrying out all of the great programs that you planned to do all winter. And, if you are like me you are doing things that you never considered before and looking for tools and resources to meet the new demands of deploying risk reduction rather than classic prevention strategies. Community Risk Reduction (CRR) is not new – it’s what we’ve really been about throughout our careers. CRR strategies have proven quire effective in reducing fire risks particularly in the residential uses of our communities but the same strategies can be applied to our duties with commercial occupancies as well.
The foundation of risk reduction is identifying bad things – like fires that can happen in an area, the chances of the bad thing happening, how bad can it get if the bad thing happens and then designing a program to keep it from happening or mitigated its effect. That’s where our inspection programs come in – identify the hazards and get them put before they can cause a problem. CRR suggests deploying the programs including inspections where they will do the most good. The problem is that many of us have been doing a great job of inspecting over the years but we don’t have great data analyses capability that can tell us what hazards most often lead to a fire. That’s where NFPA can step in.
Through its research foundation the NFPA has compiled exhaustive data of where fires occur, what causes the fires, the extent of damage together with detailed analysis of trends and priorities. The best thing about the research is that it is available – for free (for the most part) and it is available in a variety of forms that can provide a brief overview of the uses – by occupancy and cause or if you are into that kind of thing, they have very detailed technical reports and trend analysis. These documents are valuable in a number of ways. Departments can use them as a benchmark to see how their fire problem stacks up against other departments regionally or nationally – or if you are just starting on the risk reduction path (or perhaps you just don’t have data analytic capabilities) they can give you a starting point to consider.
Hope you have a successful and impactfull summer – and on behalf of your Board of Directors THANK YOU for all you do.