Whether you're a city official or a public safety leader, your community is bound to have risks. In fact, most communities contain multiple dangers or hazards that can negatively affect its citizens. But there are also many ways to reduce potential problems and spot patterns. As Will Broscious, Division Chief at the Columbia Fire Department in South Carolina shares, doing a risk assessment is a good place to start.
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"A risk assessment is, in very simple terms, finding out what the problems are, where they are located, and using data to do that," Will says. "I always tell fire departments we do a risk assessment all the time, and most times we just don't know we're doing it."
With a tool like CRAIG 1300™, it's easy to create a community risk assessment to reduce those hazards for every community. At Columbia Fire Department, Chief Broscious uses data to help out his enormous team — spanning 32 stations and covering more than 700 miles.
"My primary job is to run numbers — to find out where our data is taking us and how we can use that data to the department's benefit," Will says.
Columbia has a unique model for its fire service. Although Columbia is a municipal fire department, its coverage extends to the county. This means that Columbia Fire Department reports to city officials and county leaders. This makes data even more important. It helps Chief Broscious understand what's happening in the city or county any given day, what themes or patterns are emerging, and which areas may need additional stations, staff or other financial resources.
To make things simpler, Chief Broscious uses CRAIG 1300™, which stores and updates data from both the city and the county. If you're interested in learning more about CRAIG 1300™, please complete this form.
Here are three major data indicators that he uses to serve the citizens of Columbia:
Growth: "If you have a large majority of individuals that are youth, you can use that to your advantage, especially when it comes to recruiting," Will says. "Many fire departments are facing staffing issues, so when we start looking at our risk assessment, it's not necessarily just one side. It's for everything that we do and how we operate as a department."
Aging Population: "As the population ages naturally, the data will show you as we get older, we start losing our mobility — more trips, slips and falls," Will says. "When we start seeing that occur, we always ask, 'Why? What's going on?' The data shows us that the population is aging in that area, or is beginning to age, so we should preparing for those things."
False Alarms: "Some people don't realize the financial impact of a false alarm. We run anywhere from 6,500 to 7,000 false alarms a year," Will says. With the price of fuel and other rising costs, running a false alarm call quickly adds up. "We were able to use the tool to locate the majority of our false alarms," he says. "Being able to have it [data] right there on hand, at all times, is a huge benefit for us."
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Allison is the Communications Manager at mySidewalk. As part of the marketing team, she blends her magazine writing skills, marketing experience and passion for people to shape content and drive customer stories. She also oversees the public relations division at mySidewalk. Allison received her Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, biking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
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