Community Risk Priorities

Based on the assessment of incident and demographic data from the City of Bolton, the top three priorities for community risk have been identified. These are potential risks that can ultimately be mitigated through various strategies; which will be addressed through a comprehensive community risk reduction plan.

Priority 1: Cooking Fires

There has been a steady increase in cooking fires over the last five years. Some confined to the kitchen area, and others originating in the kitchen and extending into other rooms; eventually resulting in building fires. A significant number of these fires occur in homes with predominantly Spanish-speaking residents under the age of 35 years. Most of the residents had none or non-working smoke alarms, and the inability (absence of a fire extinguisher or other means) or unfamiliarity with procedures for properly suppressing cooking-related fires. During the CRR planning process, it will be necessary to consider a plan that targets specific neighborhoods with both educational materials (in both Spanish and English) and a program of home visits. This should include installation of smoke alarms and proper methods of extinguishing cooking-related fires.

Priority 2: Ground-Level Falls

EMS-incident data showed that the majority of ground-level falls occurred among females aged 62 years and older. The types of injuries were usually hip and lower-extremity fractures. While such injuries can be significant in younger persons, they are often much more devastating in the elderly. They frequently result in long-term functional impairment, nursing home admission and increased mortality.

Ground-level falls are preventable in many cases by make homes safer by reducing tripping hazards; improved lighting ; and adding grab rails in bathrooms. In addition, regular exercise to improve strength and balance; annual eye exams; taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements; and ensuring that any medicines they are taking do not have side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness can all help to reduce the potential for falls.

Priority 3: Wildland-Type Fires in Residential Areas

When taking into account all wildland-type incidents, they represent the second most common fire-related incidents—the majority occurring at or around residential areas. The frequency of these fires has increased by 255% over the previous five years, and will continue to rise as the city expands its boundaries to the east and west. Wind-driven embers, not flames from the wildfire, tend to be the biggest threat to residential properties during wildfires.

There are a number of options that can help homeowners to prevent and minimize wildland fires from progressing into residential structure fires. Creating a defensible space around the home by modifying, reducing, or clearing potential wildfire fuel materials or vegetation to create a barrier can slow the spread of wildfire. A good defensible space also allows room for firefighters to fight fires more safely.

The use of fire-resistant building materials (particularly fire-resistant roofing); reducing flammable materials or fuels outside the home; and landscaping with fire-resistant plants are other preventative measures.