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NFCC launches initial evidence-based risk assessment methodology

10 March 2023

THE NATIONAL Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Community Risk Programme is developing standardised tools designed to support UK Fire and Rescue Services in their community risk management planning. The Domestic Dwelling Fires Risk Methodology is the first such methodology to be developed by the programme.

To date, those involved with the programme have worked with the Fire Standards Board to produce a fire standard for Community Risk Management and have delivered several pieces of guidance and tools that are already being used by UK Fire and Rescue Services.

Back in 2018, an independent review of community risk management across the UK found a variety of approaches being used by Fire and Rescue Services. This finding was echoed in the first HMICFRS ‘State of Fire’ report, which set out recommendations to address this variation.

The tools being produced by the programme will help Fire and Rescue Services to consistently identify, assess and mitigate community risks and provide a framework and systemic approach for developing community risk management-centred plans.

As more lives are lost in fires that occur in residential properties than in any other type of building fire, the initial concentration has been focused on putting together the Domestic Dwelling Fires Risk Methodology.

Training workshops

Last summer, the programme delivered several training workshops on the Domestic Dwelling Fires Risk Methodology to Fire and Rescue Services. The workshops were attended by over 100 delegates representing 43 UK Fire and Rescue Services.

A risk assessment methodology for fires on other buildings (non-residential properties) is currently open for consultation, with the programme’s managers consulting on a risk methodology for road traffic collisions this month. Both methodologies will be published in June this year.

All three methodologies have been developed in tandem with consultant ORH Ltd and supported by subject matter experts from both the NFCC and UK Fire and Rescue Services.

National picture

Ian Hayton (chief fire officer for the Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service and Community Risk Programme executive) explained: “The Community Risk Programme was set in motion to provide an understanding of the national picture of risk identification, assessment and stratification and bring about the desired level of consistency to an area that’s incredibly challenging to tackle.”

Hayton continued: “We found a need for standardised, data-led tools for assessing and understanding community risk that can be applied by all Fire and Rescue Services no matter their size or geographical location. Using the same tools and evidence-based methodologies will support key decision-making on how to mitigate risk locally and support national comparison and collaboration activities.”

Further, Hayton noted: “I’m delighted to launch the Domestic Dwelling Fires Risk Methodology, with two further methodologies to follow this summer. As risk continues to change nationally and data gathering and provision evolves, this methodology will need to be updated and enhanced so there will be many further iterations to follow.”

He concluded: “Our fervent hope is that this work will be adopted and implemented within Fire and Rescue Services over the coming months and that it sparks new discussions and research into how community risk is analysed, understood and mitigated.”