Risk Management Practices in the Fire Service

Introduction

Risk management refers to any activity that involves the evaluation or comparison of risks and development of approaches that change the probability or the consequences of a harmful action. Risk management comprises the entire process of identification and evaluation of risks as well as the identification, selection and identification of control measures that might alter the risk. Loss control is an element of risk management. The control measures can be categorized as administrative, engineering and personal protection. Risk management in the community, hereby having trained personnel and specialized equipment on hand, emergency responders exemplify a community’s response to risk. The basic mission of the fire, EMS, and rescue services is initially related to the control of risk throughout a community. (Diamantes, 1998)

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Fire Control in the Community

The departments play a critical role in defending their communities against fires and other situations that threaten lives and property. Historically, public fire departments were organized primarily to defend communities against the risk of conflagrations. Conflagrations grow from small fires that are not controlled in their early stages and grow until they cannot be controlled. Before modern concepts of fire protection were developed, conflagrations often devastate cities and towns.

Although most public fire departments now focus on the control of fires in individual properties and the rescue of endangered occupants, the fire suppression role of the fire department is still based on the need to protect the community’s property and population. In that respect, the fire department is part of the community’s fire risk management program. It exists to limit the probable loss when a fire occurs. (Diamantes, 1998)

Helping Communities Protect What They Have

Helping communities protect what they have is a key theme of the fire service risk management philosophy and underscores our broad-based efforts to emphasize fire prevention and improve the quality of fire protection enjoyed by all people. Besides information about how the fire service is organized and operated, a great deal of information to help individuals, families, companies and communities prevent fires and protect themselves from the effects of fire has been given. They have been advised to have the following, domestic fire prevention, domestic fire alarms, home escape plans, commercial and industrial fire safety checklist and evacuation schemes (Diamantes, 1998)

Delivering Fire Control Services To The Community

A community expresses its assessment of overall fire risk through the resources it is willing to commit to its fire department. If the fire department is unable to perform its fire control mission, the community fire risk balance could be compromised. The fire chief is responsible for providing a set of se4rvices that are part of the risk management risk (the service delivery mission), managing the community s fire risk and ensuring the departments can perform their mission at all times. (Diamantes, 1998)

Emergency Response As An Essential Public Service

Emergency response organizations are viewed as essential public services. Because that is so, emergency response managers should recognize that they are responsible for ensuring that their organizations are always ready and able to perform their missions, more than the average citizen or business manager, emergency response managers must be aware of potential disruptions to service. After all, they are expected to recognize and manage risk as part of their everyday professional lives. (Diamantes, 1998)

Losses and loss control

Loss control is a component of risk management; the objective of loss control is to limit the consequences of risk. There are hundreds of potential losses that are faced by fire departments that are personal losses. These losses include life loss, injury and illness to members of the department. People are important, they are our most important assets and they must be protected. Property losses. Fire department’s property includes vehicles facilities and equipment. Losses in this category could include an apparatus that is damaged by a fire, or a piece of equipment that is lost or stolen. Liability losses. Liability is the obligation to compensate others for losses and damages that are caused by our acts or omissions. The frequency and magnitude of this type of loss for fire departments are rapidly increasing. (Dugan, Jennifer, and Leo 1997).

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FEMA organization

The NFA is an integral organization unit within the united states fire administration (USFA) and FEMA.It is a mission-driven organization wherein all programs and initiatives are closely aligned with the strategic goals and operational objectives of the USFA and FEMA.It is a mission-driven organization wherein all programs and initiatives are closely aligned with the strategic goals and operational objectives of the USFA and FEMA.

USFA has established the following five-year operational objectives that serve to guide its priorities and programs. Reduce the loss of fire from fire by 15 %. By reducing by 25 percent, the loss of life of the age group 14 years old and below and by reducing 25 percent the loss of life by the age 65 years old and above, and by reducing 25 percent the loss of live of firefighters.2, 000 communities will have a comprehensive multi-hazard risk reduction plan led by or including the local fire service.

Significant progress has been made in the implementation of the initiatives identified in the USFA action plan. The USFA staff, working in teams, has demonstrated the capabilities, dedication and visionary leadership necessary to successfully to implement this action plan. Team members were afforded the opportunities to participate in the organizational effectiveness training programs. The passion of the various staff members and their interest in the students who attend NFA courses, both on and off-campus, are remarkable. (Dugan, Jennifer, and Leo 1997).

Planning to manage risk

In 1987, the national fire protection association (NEPA) adopted NEPA 1500, standard on fire department occupational safety and health programs. It was the first consensus standard to directly address many issues that are related to the avoidance of injuries, fatalities and occupational illnesses emergency response personnel experience in the performance of their duties. Considered radical by some at the time, the principles that form the foundation of the standard have since been accepted and adopted widely throughout the North American fire services. A risk management plan establishes fundamental policy. The plan serves as documentation that risks have been identified and evaluated that further, a reasonable control plan has been implemented and followed. The components of a risk management plan required by NEPA 1500 are risk identification, risk evaluation, risk control techniques and program evaluation and review. The elements of a risk management plan, as outlined in NFPA 1500 are intended to apply to all aspects of a fire department’s operations and activities. It is their application to emergency operations in particular, though that makes the risk management plan a significant advancement in risk management.

The following is a summary of risk management plan requirements. The fire department shall adopt an official written risk management plan that addresses all fire department policies and procedures. The risk management plan should cover administration, facilities, training, vehicle operation, protective clothing and equipment, operations at emergency incidents, and other related activities. The risk management plan shall include at least the following components, risk identification of the potential problems, risk evaluation that is the likelihood of occurrence of a given problem and the severity of its consequences. Risk control techniques that is the solutions for elimination or mitigation of potential problems and implementation of the potential solution. Risk management monitoring is evaluation of effectiveness of risk control techniques. Risk identification, that is you list the potential problems for every aspect of the operations of the fire department. Risk evaluation is you evaluate each item listed in the risk identification process. Risk control is you develop and implement strategies to eliminate or avoid the activity, reduce or control the risk, develop, adopt and enforce safety programs and standard operating procedures, provide training and conduct inspections. Risk management monitoring and follow-up periodic evaluations should be made to determine how effectively the plan is working and identify modifications that should be made. (Dugan, Jennifer, and Leo 1997).

Key Findings of Fire Risk Research

To date, the fire service has identified important relationships between residential fire incidence and social or economic deprivation. These relationship suggest that those portions of urban communities that experience low household income, household crowding, low educational achievement, high unemployment and inadequate parental. Supervision or support, they experience nearly three times more fires than the most affluent and well accommodated and new Zealanders and of even greater concern is the risk of experiencing a fatal fire. The disadvantaged are almost six times as likely to have a domestic fire in which someone dies.

Fire service research also suggests disparities in the distribution of business fire risk. The manufacturing industry in particular experiences far more fires for establishment than any other business. Another business experiencing unusual fire risk is the hospitality industry. Hotels, motels, hostels, tourist accommodations, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, pubs, taverns and similar service establishments experience a surprisingly a large proportion of non-residential, civilian fire injuries and deaths. Given this industry’s role as an important export earner, the fire service is anxious to help hospitality businesses identify and address the hazards that undermine confidence in safety and security among the traveling public. (Dugan, Jennifer, and Leo 1997).

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Conclusion

Risk management comprises the entire process of identification and evaluation of risks as well as the identification, selection and identification of control measures that might alter the risk. Helping communities protect what they have is a key theme of the fire service risk management philosophy and underscores our broad-based efforts to emphasize fire prevention and improve the quality of fire protection enjoyed by all people.The risk management plan includes at least the following components, risk identification of the potential problems, risk evaluation that is the likelihood of occurrence of a given problem and the severity of its consequences. As a result, risk management fire service is an important department in almost every industry and homestead and hence as a result, proper plans must be put in place to ensure that the frequent occurrences of fire cases have been cut down if not eliminated.

Reference

Diamantes (1998). Fire prevention. Inspection and code enforcement. Albany. Delmar Publishers

Dugan, E.Jennifer K, and Leo (1997). Winning strategies for fire department Management. Boston. Quinlan publishing co.

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