Community Risk Reduction

Emergencies, when they occur, require the involvement of every resource that a city has. Over the last few years, the country has seen a greater number of emergency incidents with a much higher impact on local communities.

The Center for Public Safety Management (CPSM) is a leading expert in utilizing data to develop strategic plans for improvement of existing public safety programs. However, analyzing data is additionally useful in preparing for future “worst case” scenarios and risk reduction within the community.

With this in mind, CPSM has been focusing its efforts into ramping up its emergency management and emergency services. Backed by previous local government leaders and skilled subject matter experts, CPSM is at the forefront of facilitating a greater involvement from the city or county in emergency planning.

Every event begins and ends at the local level. Each public safety department – police, fire, and emergency services – needs to work in complete partnership to prevent or mitigate the loss of life, property, and resources in an emergency situation.

The fire service in most communities has deployed based on tradition. “The problem with tradition is that techniques change, technology changes, and conditions in a community change. If you are basing deployment on tradition and failing to plan; you are more than likely planning to fail,” said Thomas Wieczorek, Principal and Co-Founder of CPSM.

Most of our fire deployment methodology was based upon research and history from the United Kingdom. Called “Standards of Response Coverage,” this deployment method was developed in the 1930’s to allow emergency resources to survive an ongoing air attack in order to fight fires and rescue citizens after the assault ended. The methodology was updated in the 50’s, again in 1985 and then thoroughly critiqued beginning in 2001. The result of the critique was a white paper that moved the UK deployment methodology to focus on prevention rather than only response. Called “Integrated Risk Management Planning,” the new process has been credited for double digit decreases in fire loss and fire death/injury in the UK.

The process was brought to Canada and the United States through the efforts of the International Fire Engineers (IFE) and has expanded to include large and small agencies with similar favorable results.

Community Risk Reduction (CRR) is the methodology for how these services can best work together in the event of a disaster or on a day-to-day basis for fire response. Based in data-driven analysis, CPSM utilizes CRR to address and respond to potential threats to public safety. By planning in advance, the city or county can identify its high-risk neighborhoods, determine hazards, build necessary partnerships to improve safety, and form effective strategies with the resources available.

A number of resources have been created by a volunteer organization known as Vision 20/20. CPSM has been engaged in the process almost since its inception and today the effort can be found in many progressive fire organizations. The Vision 20/20 Project defines CRR as a process to identify and prioritize local risks, followed by the integrated and strategic investment of resources (emergency response and prevention) to reduce their occurrence and impact. CRR plans should coordinate emergency operations programs with prevention and mitigation efforts throughout both the community and at the fire-station level. Involvement of public safety personnel is critical for both gathering local risk data and performing activities necessary to implement the CRR plan.

Due to its experience in improving public safety programs throughout the country, CPSM is delving further into integrating CRR into its recommendations.

To learn more about Vision 20/20, please visit https://strategicfire.org/crr.

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