Community Risk

Community risks were determined via statistical regression models that predict various types of risk as a function of community attributes. Five community risks were modeled separately for low- medium- and high-hazard structures. The community risks were:

  • number of reported structure fires,
  • percentage of reported fires that spread beyond the room of origin,
  • percentage of reported fires that spread beyond the room of origin and spread beyond the structure of origin,
  • number of reported injuries resulting from structure fires,
  • and number of reported deaths resulting from structure fires.

Community risks were estimated for each of three different classes of structures in a community including low, medium, and high hazard structures as categorized by the NFPA.

Community risks were also estimated as a function of the socio-demographic and geographic characteristics of the locations (census tracts) of reported structure fires over a seven year period (2007-2013) according to available NFIRS data. The socio-demographic attributes include:

  • Population characteristics (e.g., size category of the department, population, number of males, age group counts, race counts)
  • Housing characteristics (e.g., total housing units, total vacancies, size of home, number of renters, age of units)
  • Household characteristics (e.g., median household income, social vulnerability index)
  • Geographic region.

The final set of variables varied by model, and were selected to ensure the best prediction of risk. Note that because deaths are rare, many departments will be predicted to have only a fractional number of deaths.

Community risks are not currently estimated for communities with populations less than 10,000 people because small departments are expected to behave different from larger departments. The model is under continued development to ensure all communities are captured in FireCAREs. The number of departments for which estimates are generated are listed below.

Table 1: Number of departments by size and region.

Department Size
Population Region
Label From: To: West South Northeast Midwest Total
size_0 0 2,499
size_1 2,500 4,999
size_2 5,000 9,999
size_3 10,000 24,999 99 270 136 325 830
size_4 25,000 49,999 100 172 92 195 559
size_5 50,000 99,999 118 88 53 121 380
size_6 100,000 249,999 76 36 17 88 217
size_7 250,000 499,999 25 11 3 22 61
size_8 500,000 999,999 13 5 1 18 37
size_9 1,000,000 up 5 1 3 5 14
Total 436 583 305 774 2,098
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