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108 Measuring the effectiveness of fire prevention
  1. Laine Tuomas
  1. University of Tampere, Finland

Abstract

Background Evaluation of the effectiveness of public undertakings has become more and more important during the last decades. This is a major concern also in the field of fire safety. Yet, little progress has been made since the 1970’s and there still is no consensus on the proper way to measure the effectiveness of fire prevention programs.

In Finland, fire prevention has for long been a notable part of the rescue service. Lately, fire department databases, data collecting processes and standards have improved, and much work has been done to collect relevant information concerning fire prevention impacts, risk variation of target groups and condition variables related to accidents. However, more tenable measures and better knowledge on the causal effects of the programs are still needed.

Methods The data consist over 350,000 observations of different fire prevention initiatives in six regions and over 800,000 buildings covered by regional fire departments between 2008 and 2014. In addition, data collected from the national accident database consist over 13,000 accidents with outcome variables like frequency of accidents, fire related damages and nuisances, and fire deaths.

Results Evaluation of fire prevention programs is examined from two viewpoints. First, the results concern the requirements on information management. The relevant information concerning the costs, effects and risks for accurate utilisation of the method in strategic and operative conduct of fire services is pinpointed. Second, the study exposes the limitations and challenges in measuring the effectiveness of fire prevention. The variation in the key explanatory variables is used to identify their effects on outcome variables in order to study the causal effects of fire prevention.

Conclusions The Analysis is still a work in progress. The conclusions are expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

  • Effectiveness
  • Causality
  • Fire Prevention
  • Information management

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