State Fire Marshal Using Community Risk Reduction Week to Highlight Role of Data in Preventing Fire-Related Deaths

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio firefighters and EMS prepare to recognize Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Week Jan. 15-21, the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Fire Prevention Bureau stresses the importance of both first responders and citizens taking steps to prevent fire-related tragedies.

CRR Week was created to promote educational programming and demonstrations that explain the importance of fire safety with an emphasis on fire prevention. The Bureau also is using this time to highlight the important role that data analysis plays in saving the lives of Ohioans.

Following an incident, firefighters and EMS across the state are asked to upload specific details into a statewide database. That information is then analyzed and used to identify new and emerging trends, as well as strategies that can be implemented in response to those trends.

One example is the implementation of the Bureau’s Thermal Fuse Program. As a result of analyzing data, leaders identified the #1 known cause of fire fatalities to be related to smoking, with 40% of all fatalities caused by individuals who were smoking while on oxygen. In response, the Bureau purchased thermal fuses to equip fire departments across Ohio so they could be shared with citizens free of charge. Thermal fuses are safety devices that stop the spread of fire should an individual smoke on oxygen.

Additional examples include Project Sound-Off, which helps educate elementary school-aged children on the importance of smoke alarms and how to spot common home fire dangers, and Project Safe Senior, which brings together the State Fire Marshal’s Office and other resources to provide safety visits and smoke alarms to Ohio’s senior population. 

“Our Thermal Fuse Program, Project Safe Senior, and Sound Off with the home safety patrol are all community risk reduction programs developed by looking at the data and applying a solution to reduce fires and fatalities statewide,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon.

In essence, CRR is a method of increasing the safety of communities by using data to minimize risk. CRR focuses on five key areas, known as the 5 E’s: Emergency Response, Education, Engineering, Enforcement, and Economic Incentives.

  •         Emergency Response ensures well-equipped and trained crews are prepared for any situation.
  •         Education promotes low-risk behavior among community members through various outreach programs.
  •         Engineering encourages the distribution of new products that improve safety, like improved smoke alarms, fire suppression systems and thermal fuses for those who smoke and are prescribed oxygen.
  •         Enforcement involves inspections and legislation to reduce hazards.
  •         Economic Incentives establish collaborations with local government and organizations to encourage risk reduction, such as free smoke alarm installations or tax credits for businesses that install sprinkler systems.

“Successful community risk reduction starts with great data from our fire department partners coupled with innovative software and data analysis,” said Fire Prevention Bureau Chief Anita Metheny. “We want to identify situations that are dangerous to our citizens and use that information to help our fire department partners educate the community while also helping to enhance their CRR program.”

For more information about the State Fire Marshal’s CRR programs, please visit the website at com.ohio.gov/CRR.

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