Welcome to the final installment of our three-part series on Community Risk Reduction (CRR). If you haven’t already, please check out our first two installments here (blog 1) and here (blog 2). This week, we’ll be wrapping up and covering Community Risk Reduction for fire inspections and permits. Click below to find out how ER can help with your CRR plan.
Blog 3 of 3 – Fire Inspections and Permits
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is in charge of setting standards for fire prevention and inspections. Their guidelines cover a vast array of hazard-related regulations designed to minimize the risk and effects of fire by establishing criteria for design, processing, and other activities associated with building construction and operation. As part of its commitment to enhancing public safety, NFPA makes its codes and standards available online to the public for free. These codes are all under constant review to keep up with changes in technology, materials, and construction practices to provide the latest and most comprehensive fire safety standards possible. From small towns to large cities, lawmakers and planners count on the NFPA and the experience of its employees to make recommendations that will save lives and reduce injuries from fires in their communities.
Just like community education and outreach, fire inspections and permitting are an important part of any department’s CRR program and are necessary to gain CPSE accreditation. Their primary goal is reducing the probability of fires by conducting on-site visits and performing inspections that expose potential hazards and help prevent unsafe or unlawful construction.
In most fire departments, conducting fire inspections and reviewing permits are not necessarily the most sought after or glamorous jobs. However, they are incredibly important for reducing potential risk to firefighters and the communities they serve. One problem with this is that fire prevention is commonly seen as an inconvenience that adds to the costs constructing a building or managing a business. It is up to us in the fire service to try to re-frame this perception in a way that allows people to see the inspection and permitting process as a valuable service to the community. As a division of the fire department, it is up to you to provide the community with excellent customer service, useful resources and clear advice that makes it easier for them to comply with the codes.
Click below to see an example of how one department reduced their call volume by 35% using Emergency Reporting to help implement their Community Risk Reduction Plan.
Many ER customers use the Occupancy Module to increase the tracking and efficiency of annual fire inspections, plan reviews, code enforcement, and pre-incident fire planning. The Occupancy Module allows you to compile and manage essential occupancy data for buildings and other structures within your coverage area like building details, contact information, and pre-incident plans. This module will also allow your department to develop a detailed database of fire hydrants, occupancies, fire protection systems, hazards, assessed values, and more, which gives you the ability to complete a detailed analysis of your service area and aids in the CRR process.
With ER’s mobile app, InspectER, fire inspections are more simple and efficient than ever before. InspectER allows you to read or edit occupancy and building information digitally while conducting or reviewing inspections and capture photos directly on the tablet for each inspection observation. The best part is, you can even work offline and complete inspections without internet connectivity.
Once your inspection is finished, it is necessary to have a way to keep track of the information and place it in into a framework that makes sense for your department. ER’s VISION™ Risk Assessment add-on is a perfect tool for this. The VISION™ tool generates an Occupancy Vulnerability Assessment Profile (OVAP) score for all occupancies, which allows you to analyze data form each occupancy and develop a risk assessment for your area. After the OVAP score has been established, each occupancy is color-coded based on risk and included within the Google Maps integration for a helpful visual reference.
Emergency Reporting customer, Avondale Fire rescue, has input detailed information for more than 2,500 facilities into their database and classified them by occupancy types and uses. They then use occupancy data and VISION OVAP scores as the basis for prioritizing existing building inspections based on the occupancy risk classification. This information is then used to identify strategies to include in their Community Risk Reduction plan.
“I’ve been working in fire prevention for 30 years, and it’s been challenging to manage occupancies, risks, and inspections with limited resources, very little data, and no national standard that covers fire prevention deployment. Now that we use Emergency Reporting, I have the tools and the information to manage our fire prevention program more efficiently and effectively. I was really excited to see that two-and-a-half years of data we input into Emergency Reporting works almost seamlessly to comply with the requirements of NFPA 1500.” Roger Parker, Fire Marshal, Avondale Fire Rescue
If your department is in the process of developing a CRR plan or working towards CPSE accreditation and you don’t currently have an RMS, now is the time to consider one. A large portion of your success in these areas relies heavily on successful use or your RMS to track and analyze your department’s data. If you already have an RMS, it is important to fully utilize its capabilities and be aware that that the quality of data you get out of the system is a direct result of the quality of data you put into the system.
To learn more about how the Emergency Reporting can help your department with its Community Risk Reduction plan, please visit: https://emergencyreporting.com/products/prevention-package/