The Huntington Fire Department is one of 50 departments selected nationwide by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to participate in a pilot program to build a digital community risk assessment tool that will enable community leaders to make data-informed decisions around fire prevention and other risk-reduction activities.
According to NFPA, the concept of community risk reduction - a process that identifies and prioritizes the risks specific to a particular location - has been gaining traction across North America for more than 20 years. New technology, access to data, and a shifting focus on prevention have resulted in new energy around this process. Reflecting that momentum, NFPA’s CRA tool is being designed to help fire departments aggregate and disseminate data that pinpoints where risks exist within a given community.
“Access to accurate data is critical to making informed decisions about where to focus efforts and resources,” said Karen Berard-Reed, community risk reduction strategist at NFPA. “While many fire departments have struggled to work with data sets, NFPA’s CRA tool will do the complex work behind the scenes allowing stakeholders to create effective, community-risk reduction plans within their jurisdictions.”
Berard-Reed notes that fire departments’ participation in the CRA tool pilot program is critical to its success and impact. To date, more than 150 fire departments throughout the U.S. have applied to participate and a total of 50 awards will be selected in 2019. The departments were selected based on a variety of factors, including size, geography, region, experience with CRR activities, and support from the community.
“We are thrilled to be participating in this important project.” Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader said. “Not only will access to the tool give us invaluable information about our community’s needs, but it’s rewarding to know that using the tool will increase its effectiveness and help other fire departments in the long run.”
Each selected department will receive access to a digital risk visualization dashboard powered by mySidewalk, an innovative community intelligence platform that employs local and national data to guide planning around fire and life safety initiatives. Participants will have access to a personalized dashboard for their community through November of 2020. The award covers the cost of the dashboard, training and networking opportunities with other participating fire departments and is valued at more than $7,000.
The CRA dashboard will help participating departments identify local risks to life and property, highlight underlying conditions that may contribute to those risks, develop CRR data-informed plans, and share findings with stakeholders.
For more information about the NFPA Community Risk Reduction initiative, visit www.nfpa.org/crr.
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