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Hickory Fire Department among 25 fire departments nationwide selected to receive grant from National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in support of community risk reduction pilot program

HICKORY, NC (August 2, 2019) — The Hickory Fire Department has been selected as one of 25 departments to receive a grant from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as part of its pilot program to build a community risk assessment (CRA) tool. The tool will enable fire departments to make data-informed decisions around fire prevention and other risk-reduction activities. 

“Access to accurate data is critical to making informed decisions about where to focus efforts and resources,” said Karen Berard-Reed, community risk reduction strategist at NFPA. “While many fire departments have struggled to work with data sets, NFPA’s CRA tool will do the complex work behind the scenes allowing stakeholders to create effective community risk reduction plans within their jurisdictions.”

Berard-Reed notes that fire departments’ participation in CRA tool pilot program is critical to its success and impact. To date, more than 150 fire departments throughout the U.S. have applied to participate and a total of 50 grants will be selected in 2019. The initial 25 departments awarded grant funding were selected based on a variety of factors, including size, geography, region, experience with CRR activities, support from the community, as well as other indicators. .

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant,” said Hickory Fire Chief Matt Hutchinson. “Not only will access to this tool give us invaluable information about our community’s needs, but it’s rewarding to know that using the tool will increase its effectiveness and help other fire departments in the long run.”

This grant includes access to a digital risk visualization dashboard powered by mySidewalk, an innovative community intelligence platform that employs local and national data to guide planning around fire and life safety initiatives. Grant recipients will have access to a personalized dashboard for their community through July 31, 2020. The grant covers the cost of the dashboard, training, and networking opportunities with other participating fire departments and is valued at more than $7,000.

The CRA dashboard will help participating departments identify local risks to life and property, highlight underlying conditions that may contribute to those risks, develop CRR data-informed plans, and share findings with stakeholders.

For more information about the NFPA Community Risk Reduction initiative, visit www.nfpa.org/crr.