A recent study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health underscores the need for fire departments to find more efficient ways to target and track smoke alarm canvassing and installation programs. Geographic information systems (GIS) can provide departments with these capabilities.
This study was the first to use GIS technology for evaluating fire prevention services. Findings include:
- There are inefficiencies and a tremendous duplication of effort in the delivery of fire department smoke alarm visits.
- A systematic approach is needed for planning, delivering and tracking fire department home visits.
- GIS analysis can incorporate census data, allowing departments to target prevention resources to areas with known risk factors, for example older or vacant housing and low-income level.
- The fire service is well-positioned to expand the use of GIS technology to improve fire prevention services given their mastery of the technology for fire suppression activities.
Source: Utilizing GIS technology to improve fire prevention activities in an urban fire department. Journal of Burn Care and Research. Vol 36 (4), July-August 2015.
Smoke alarm distribution programs are inefficient unless they can target and track households that are in need of the smoke alarms. Several earlier studies have clearly shown that residents greatly over report the presence and working condition of smoke alarms. GIS is used to good effect for fire suppression purposes, but fire prevention efforts can also benefit by using GIS to better target high-risk areas and populations.
Learn more about this research
This research article on improving urban fire prevention activities with GIS technology is available through our library by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested readers may also be able to access the article through their local library or through the publisher’s website.
Case study: Get Alarmed, Tennessee
Learn how the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office used GIS to target at-risk area’s and improve the efficiency of their prevention outreach. Read the case study PDF 201 KB.