A local fire authority has been selected as one of 50 departments nationwide to participate in a pilot program to help build a community risk assessment tool.

The Brighton Area Fire Authority was chosen by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, to take part in a program to build a digital community risk assessment (CRA) tool. The tool will enable community leaders to make data-informed decisions around fire prevention and other risk-reduction activities. According to the NFPA, the concept of community risk reduction - a process that identifies and prioritizes the risks specific to a particular location - has been gaining traction across North America for more than 20 years. The NFPA says new technology, access to data, and a shifting focus on prevention have resulted in new energy around that process. Reflecting that momentum, the CRA tool is being designed to help fire departments aggregate and disseminate data that pinpoints where risks exist within a given community.

Karen Berard-Reed, community risk reduction strategist at NFPA, says the fire departments’ participation in CRA tool pilot program is critical to its success and impact. Berard-Reed notes that “access to accurate data is critical to making informed decisions about where to focus efforts and resources”; adding that “NFPA’s CRA tool will do the complex work behind the scenes allowing stakeholders to create effective community risk reduction plans within their jurisdictions”.

To date, more than 150 fire departments throughout the U.S. have applied to participate in the CRA tool pilot program and a total of 50 awards will be selected in 2019. The departments were selected based on a variety of factors, including size, geography, region, experience with CRR activities, support from the community, and other indicators.

Rick Boisvert, Fire Marshal for the Brighton Area Fire Authority, says BAFA is thrilled to be participating in the project, adding that not only will the tool give them invaluable information about the 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.”