Risk Reduction Efforts in Your Community

The role of the fire officer has changed quite a bit over the last century. From a historic perspective, the fire department of the 20th Century has been retooled into the ESO of today, and the organizational structure has expanded as well. Still, with all of these changes, the lines of authority have remained the same. Many of these changes have been brought on by our society and culture, our values and beliefs, as well as our expressions and perceptions of the role of the fire service in the context of the community as a whole. Today, more than ever, the fire officer has a vested interest in community risk reduction efforts!

Read pages 79–93 in the United States Fire Administration’s “Fire in the United States 2006 – 2015” and focus on the statistics involving fire casualties. Think about which of these statistics surprised you the most and why the United States as a whole continues to experience such high fire casualties each year.

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Write a 1,400- to 1,750-word essay that explores the underlying issues behind the statistics you read about and analyzes the community risk reduction efforts your local fire department uses. You should attempt to interview the head of your local fire department’s community risk reduction department (fire prevention bureau) to identify the various programs that the department uses to reduce risk.

In your project, you should ensure that you:

  • Explain the statistical trends in fire-related casualties in the United States. Is there a disparity among different races? How do socioeconomics factor into the risk of fire-related death? How does the American culture contribute negatively towards these statistics?
  • Discuss your local fire department’s risk reduction initiatives and address the following:
    • Describe the various programs that the department utilizes to reduce risk:
      • Fire prevention
      • Fire inspection
      • Fire investigation
      • Community outreach
    • Who performs community risk reduction outreach? Is it solely the fire prevention bureau? Individual stations? Volunteer driven?
    • Does the department specifically target any minority groups with programs (for example, non-native English speakers)?
    • What qualifications are required of community risk reduction personnel?
    • What different types of data are collected before or after programs?
  • Describe the importance of community risk reduction efforts in reaching traditionally marginalized or diverse groups in the community and strategies to reach them.

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