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Fire & Life Safety: Community Risk Reduction on a Shoestring Budget

Community risk reduction (CRR) is the identification and prioritization of risks, followed by the integrated application of resources to minimize the probability of occurrence or the impact of unfortunate events.

Using Internal Resources

For CRR to be successful, you need to make it an institutional value. To start, you need to ensure your department’s leaders value the importance of CRR in order to expand these values department-wide. With a tight budget, you need to look around your department to see what resources you already have to implement this value.

The first step in CRR is identifying your community’s issues. Firefighters, already out in the community, are a great resource for identifying targeted risk-reduction efforts. The risk-reduction efforts may, and probably do, vary from station to station.

If you have any risk-reduction specialists in your department, have them offer to train the firefighters on the skills needed to implement CRR consistently.

In addition:

  • Crews can help canvas neighborhoods with safety information.
  • When a crew provides a station tour to the community, being properly trained helps them use this opportunity to share fire-prevention messaging.
  • Use special events at your stations, like spaghetti nights or trick-or-treat, to get more involved with the community.
  • Offer free fire-extinguisher training and smoke-alarm battery replacement, as requested.
  • Offer home-safety inspections.
  • Arrange a car-seat-check program at your fire stations.
  • Provide free blood-pressure and blood-sugar checks to the community on a weekly or monthly basis.

These are just a few affordable ways that you can focus internally on CRR.

Using External Resources

Right in the definition of CRR is the focus on integrated application of resources. However, this isn’t exclusive to the resources within your department. If you have a small budget for fire-prevention programming, look around your community and see what partnerships you can create with other governmental departments, nonprofits and even corporate industry. For example:

  • Look to your local senior centers or senior-living facilities to help facilitate presentations on fall prevention and cooking fires.
  • Create a strong relationship with your school district to reach youth with fire-prevention messaging and to get referrals for your Juvenile Firesetter Intervention program.
  • Seek out corporate partnerships to help with additional funding or donations for CRR programming or to access potential volunteers. For example, partner with a local hardware store to provide free smoke alarms to residents in need.
  • Partner with local universities to help with research, marketing efforts (such as video production) and translation services.
  • Partner with your local police department and collaborate on outreach efforts like National Night Out.
  • Offer to hold a Safety Day at local summer camps.
  • Connect with local churches to offer safety presentations.

Partnerships are the key to establishing a successful CRR campaign within your community on a small budget.

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