Step 3: Risk Assessment Example

After you have collected and quantified your data, and prioritized the various risks, it will be necessary to distill it all into a legible and decipherable document. Keep in mind that the document may be reviewed by individuals, community partners, elected officials and others without technical expertise or backgrounds in the fire service and risk assessment.

Most spreadsheet or database software applications are capable of generating many different types of bar graphs, pie charts and line graphs. Word processing software typically enables the creation of simple or sophisticated tables that can be incorporated into your document. As mentioned previously, GIS can be very valuable by generating maps to illustrate locations and trends of incidents, hazards, and occupancies.

The use of tables, graphs, charts and maps should be used to illustrate the results of your assessment. What follows is an example of a simple risk assessment of a fictional community in the United States. It includes a number of maps, tables and charts as examples of presenting your data visually.

EXAMPLE: Results of a Community Risk Assessment of Bolton, Washington

With support from community leaders, city management, and local elected officials, the City of Bolton Fire Department (BFD) conducted a community risk assessment using a systematic approach to the process. Ultimately, the results of this assessment will be utilized to create a complete Community Risk Reduction (CRR) plan that will include strategies and tactics to mitigate risks to the community.

Two primary categories were examined: service demand and community risks. Service demand consisted of a retrospective analysis of five years of fire department incident data from 2009 through 2013. Data was acquired from the department’s records management system (RMS) and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) records from the communications center.

As with all other communities, the City of Bolton has potential risks. Such risks can be human-caused (e.g., preventable injuries, fires) or naturally occurring (e.g., frequently occurring severe weather; earthquakes, hurricanes). During this process, BFD identified and prioritized potential and likely risks, and subsequently prioritized them.