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Project R.I.S.K. (Residential. Inspections. Smoke Alarms. Knowledge.)

Project R.I.S.K. is an initiative that is part of an overall community risk reduction strategy which was made possible through a FEMA Fire and Public Safety grant. The initiative involved analyzing data specific to Albemarle County and using the results of that data to establish targeted messaging and programs. The data showed that in Albemarle County poverty is the number one indicator for risk of civilian injury and residential fire loss. The data also demonstrated that a lack of escape planning and working smoke alarms were the main factors leading to those injuries and residential losses.

Project R.I.S.K. is an Albemarle County Fire Rescue initiative that is embraced system-wide with career and volunteer staff enthusiastically working on this project together. It incorporates community partners such as Social Services, Albemarle County Police, Habitat for Humanity, and Fire Corps. New partnerships are being identified as the project develops. We have an set an arduous goal of reaching 1000 homes, installing over 2000 smoke alarms, and reducing injury and loss by 25% by August 2015. Consequently, Project R.I.S.K. must be a community effort. We need to spread the word throughout the community so that all who wish to assist have the opportunity to do so. More importantly, we need to make citizens that could benefit from this program aware of its existence. Assistance from local media outlets is vital in getting the “word out.”

Listed below are resources which identify exactly what community risk reduction means and presents ideas as to what can be achieved by involving the entire community in these efforts. The overarching goal is to reduce injury and loss by providing community tools to prevent emergency events through community engagement.

We are finalizing the planning/logistics process and will start training crews for delivery of the program in the near future.  As we move forward, we plan on doing the first home visits in early December. These will most likely be weekend visits so that we have a better chance of reaching residents when they’re home. Our initial plan calls for targeting Southwood and Esmont/Schuyler areas. Our phased approach to planning and delivery is as follows:

  1. Review of the training program with the Fire Marshal staff as the test subjects – November 05, 2014
  2. Finalized Project R.I.S.K training program delivered to field staff and other community – approximately November 30, 2014
  3. First home visits to commence – No later than Dec. 13, 2014

For more information and to learn how to get involved with Project R.I.S.K., visit or call 434-296-5833.

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