For many in the fire service, the role of fire chief is evolving. On any given day our expanding role may take us from EMS to pre-hospital healthcare, to meeting the growing needs of our communities, to striving for a diverse workforce, to working to reduce personnel exposure to by-products of a fire, and to ensure adequate resources. An ever-present concern for any fire chief is our role in reducing the impact incidents have on our community.
The concept of reducing that impact might be focused on large-scale dangers, such as a hazardous materials incident or a massive fire. Sometimes the focus is on how we can get to an incident faster, or how can we get more personnel to do all that we need to do. However, reducing incident impacts on a community should include a range of prevention. That can be a challenge since many municipal fire service budgets focus on operational response while ignoring the need to prevent the incidents we respond to.
The chief can take the lead on a different, better approach to reducing the impact of incidents. In order to move an organization from a traditional to a progressive model, we can incorporate Community Risk Reduction (CRR). This will require additional funding, and most importantly, require support from our government leaders and others in our jurisdiction.
Beginning a dialogue early, setting a vision, and building a means for collaboration are great ways to start the discussion on CRR.