Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Conduct a CRA


Chapter 5 of NFPA 1730 outlines the requirements for the conduct of a community risk assessment (CRA). The CRA is the tool that is used to determine the priorities and strategies of a the fire prevention organization.  The CRA can be conducted in 3 steps.

  1. Gather Information
  2. Analyze Data
  3. Develop Strategy

Gather Information. NFPA 1730 describes seven content areas that should be assessed. These areas are:

1.)  Demographics - describes the composition of the communities population
2.)  Geographic overview - describes the physical features of the community
3.)  Building stock - describes occupancy types within the community
4.)  Fire experience -  describes the communities past fire experience(s)
5.)  Responses -  describes the types of calls for service
6.)  Hazards - describes the different types of hazards within a community
7.)  Economic profile - describes facilities and activities vital to the communities financial sustainability


Analyze Data.  After the above information has been gathered, the data must be analyzed and evaluated. This analysis should be applied to identify specific risks the community is exposed to. NFPA 1730 recommends the use of a risk assessment matrix.  The matrix is a visual representation that classifies hazards based on probability and impact.  


Another type of risk assessment matrix prefer presents hazards and risk level in a numerical format. I have written extensively on, and utilized, this numerical assessment matrix format. Read more about this method at, Fire Risk FAQ and Conducting the 3 Step Risk Assessment. You can also take my free on-line course, Risk Assessment Workshop.

Develop Strategy.  After you have defined your community needs, and identified risks and hazards, a strategy for prevention and mitigation can be developed. This strategy is referred to as a community risk reduction (CRR) plan. The CRR outlines the programs and strategies that will be utilized to reduce, mitigate, or eliminate the risks posed to the community.  The CRR will be different for every community common elements include, existing building inspections, plan review, origin and cause investigations, and public education. 


It is essential that a CRA be conducted. It is only through this analysis that fire prevention organizations can be effective.  A valuable tool for assisting departments with the CRA is the on-line Community Risk Assessment Guide, created by Vision 20/20. This guide can be accessed at riskassessment.strategicfire.org.