New Hanover County Fire Rescue selected to participate in second phase of national community risk reduction pilot program

Posted January 22, 2021 at 8:47 am     Category: Fire RescueNews Release

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Fire Rescue (NHCFR) has been selected among 250 fire departments nationwide to participate in the second phase of the National Fire Protection Association‘s (NFPA) pilot program to build a digital community risk assessment (CRA) tool.

Aligned to NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, the tool, or “dashboard,” enables community leaders to gain valuable insights and make data-informed decisions around fire prevention and other risk-reduction activities in their communities.

According to NFPA, the concept of community risk reduction (CRR) – a process that identifies and prioritizes risks and ensures impactful mitigation initiatives – has been gaining traction across North America for more than 20 years. Innovative 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 works to help fire departments aggregate and disseminate data that pinpoint where risks exist within a given community.

“We are thrilled to be participating in this important project,” said Britney Melvin, NHCFR’s Community Risk Reduction Coordination. “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.”

The first phase of the pilot project, which included participation from 50 fire departments across the country, helped identify features of the digital dashboard that will work effectively and those that need fine-tuning. During the second phase of the program, which involves participation from 250 departments nationwide, NHCFR will provide insights around the use of the dashboard through June of 2021 to help continue refining and enhancing its effectiveness.

As a participant in the pilot program, NHCFR will have free access to the dashboard, which includes customized visualizations (maps, charts, graphs) that illustrate each community’s risks and hazards across a variety of categories such as demographics, geography, building stock, economics, infrastructure, and event loss history. The dashboard also provides a snapshot of local capacity for risk reduction activities with information about public safety response agencies and community service organizations. In addition to dashboard access, participants will be provided rich networking and professional development opportunities with other communities engaged in CRR.

“Access to accurate data will allow CRR leaders to use insights and make informed decisions about where to focus efforts and resources,” said Karen Berard-Reed, community risk reduction strategist at NFPA. “NFPA’s CRA tool will do the complex work behind the scenes to compile relevant data, allowing stakeholders to create effective community risk reduction plans that incorporate five priorities – education, engineering, enforcement, economic incentives, and emergency response – in the most impactful ways possible.”

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Release Contact:
Britney Melvin
910-798-7336

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