The city of Newport News Fire Department has been selected by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to participate in the second phase of a pilot program to build a digital community risk assessment (CRA) tool. Aligned to NFPA’s 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.
As one of only 250 fire departments nationwide chosen to participate in this phase, Newport News Fire Department has 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.
“Access to accurate data will allow community risk reduction 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. “While many fire departments have struggled to work with data sets, 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.”
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, the NNFD will provide feedback around the use of dashboard to help continue refining and enhancing the digital tool.
“We are excited to be participating in this important project,” said Robert Lee, Assistant Fire Chief of Community Risk Reduction for the Newport New Fire Department. “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.”
Community risk reduction is a process that identifies and prioritizes risks and ensures impactful mitigation initiatives. 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.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)Founded in 1896, NFPA® is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org.