Addressing the True Safety Needs of Your Community Is Key to Reducing Its Leading Risks
At a CRR Kitchen Table event hosted by NFPA® earlier this month, the Gates Fire Department (New York) shared how conducting a community risk assessment (CRA) using CRAIG 1300®, the digital tool that helps capture and analyze community data, helped them identify the leading safety risks within their community and create a plan for addressing them. Alan Bubel, fire chief of the Gates Fire Department (GFD), said that in previous years he spent more time looking at trends across the country, but many of those trends didn’t truly speak to the needs and circumstances of his community. By changing their focus and looking at the real risks and threats, Bubel and his colleagues have been better able to respond to those issues and needs, particularly as demographics have changed over the past 20 years and more residents are at higher risk to fire. “If we don’t know what our community’s needs are, we aren’t going to be able to meet them,” said Bubel. Kalli Herouvis, CRR specialist for GFD, and Laurie Schwenzer, assistant CRR specialist for GFD, also shared their approach to implementing an effective CRR strategy, noting that they look at CRR from both an educational and operational standpoint. As the needs and risks are changing—and the pace of that change is getting faster—the data provided by CRAIG 1300 helps identify those needs and effectively address them. Herouvis reinforced that understanding the people plays a key role in their efforts. “Demographics, the occupancies within the community, economics—they’re are all factors in identifying the risks within the community,” she said. The Gates Fire Department also said that CRAIG 1300 has been an effective tool for substantiating the need for more staffing and services, as the tool effectively tracks the increased number of calls they receive and the reasons for those calls. Consequently, the Gates Fire Department has been able to increase its staffing and, in turn, have been more effective in providing services to the community. The upcoming KT event on Wednesday, March 29, will feature Jason Orellanas from the Cape Coral Fire Department (Florida), who will talk about how the data from his Community Risk Assessment helps not only to guide prevention efforts, but also how it was a valuable resource in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Email CRR@nfpa.org to register!