Community Risk Reduction
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.
When properly applied, CRR coordinates emergency operations with prevention and mitigation efforts throughout both the community and at the fire-station level. Involvement of operations personnel at the company level is critical for both gathering local risk data and performing activities necessary to implement the CRR plan.
CRR Benefits & Rationale
Aside from the obvious benefits to the community, a CRR plan can contribute positive impacts on the fire department. Foremost is improving firefighter and emergency responder safety and occupational health, along with reducing line-of-duty deaths (LODD). In addition, CRR enables fire departments to become more involved with the community, can contribute to improving their ISO rating, and help with those seeking accreditation.
In addition to firefighter safety, there are a number of other reasons why departments should begin the process of developing a CRR plan:
- The presence of new and emerging hazards.
- Declining budgets among fire departments and local governments.
- Community demographics are changing rapidly.
- High-risk residents tend to remain underserved.
- May avoid the potential ramifications of hazards that were ignored or not fully addressed.
In the United States, the fire service must begin to change its culture—particularly among the firefighters and officers assigned to emergency operations. CRR is not just fire prevention, nor solely the responsibility of prevention or life-safety division personnel within the fire department. Instead, all members have a role in community risk reduction. Changes in attitude and culture should start during the initial training of new personnel, and continue throughout their careers.