Among four key takeaways from the Vision 20/20 Symposium 7: CRR is here to stay

For professionals working in the Community Risk Reduction (CRR) space, the annual Vision 20/20 Model Symposium is considered one of the Superbowl conferences where great minds in the space gather for networking, learning, and problem-solving. After attending last week’s event in Murfreesboro, TN, I thought I’d share what I consider leading takeaways from the event:

  1. CRR is here to stay. As someone who has attended more than a few Vision 20/20 symposia over the years, the growth and sophistication of the model programs was evident. More communities are engaged in strategic CRR initiatives and more of those initiatives rely on data-focused Community Risk Assessments and evaluation. CRR is growing up and on its way to filling a fundamental need in modern fire departments.
  2. CRR has attracted community partners. NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, speaks to the importance of rich partnerships in the CRR process and it is clear that local CRR teams are finding value in connecting with partners who can provide work, wealth, wisdom, and influence to enrich their initiatives. Many speakers described unique partnerships that support local risk reduction efforts. For example, Chief Jason Moore from the Bloomington Fire Department in Indiana spoke about an innovative partnership with the local Hoosiers at IU to reduce fires, false alarms, and overall call reduction.
  3. CRR is transitioning to an all-hazards approach. When CRR was new to the U.S., early Model Programs Symposia were full of presentations about fire-focused initiatives. The presenters at Symposium 7 made it clear that the all-hazards approach described in NFPA 1300 is emerging as best-practice in the field. Chief Will Mueller from Colerain Township highlighted strategies his department implements to reduce opioid addiction in the community. Dr. Victoria Reinhartz spoke about a creative program in Manatee County, Florida that is working to improve heart health in the community. In both examples, the local fire departments have active roles alongside unique community partners (See #2!) CRR provides the process to help fire departments who identify as all-hazards response agencies apply resources for all-hazards prevention and mitigation.
  4. CRR professionals comprise a fabulous collegial network. The professional CRR community is friendly, generous, and supportive. Time and time again during the conference, I witnessed CRR experts and novices talking about local initiatives, brainstorming solutions to unique problems, and providing support to those who feel isolated as prevention champions. If you were not at the event and you are craving these professional connections, please reach out to the NFPA CRR team. We will happily share upcoming networking opportunities.

If you missed this fabulous event, worry not! There are many excellent professional development opportunities to expand your CRR knowledge this year, including the Conference of the Rockies hosted by the Colorado Risk Reduction Network, The IAFC CRR Leadership Conference, and the NFPA Conference and Expo being held in Boston on June 6-9, 2022.

And if you’re looking to learn more about how to apply CRR to wildfire prone areas, sign up to attend “Wildfire through a CRR lens,” a presentation on March 15, 4:30-5:30 p.m. EST that underscores the role CRR plays in helping jurisdictions assess and manage wildfire risks in their communities. I’ll be a presenter along with Robert Horton, fire chief of Fire District 3 in Jackson County, OR, and Ellis Thompson-Ellis, community outreach specialist at the Grand Junction Fire Department in Colorado. The presentation is part of “Outthink Wildfire: Identifying Solutions to End Community Loss”, a FREE one-day program NFPA is hosting

Last but certainly not least, keep these two key CRR resources in mind:

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Karen Berard-Reed
Senior Strategist, Community Risk Reduction Lead

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