Fire Department Assessments – Addressing the Lack of Standardization for First Nations Communities

Fire Department Assessments – Addressing the Lack of Standardization for First Nations Communities

Fire Department Assessments (FDAs) are an important tool in the assessment of community fire safety. There are currently four known FDAs in existence, each with a different purpose or focus. As a result, there is the risk of overlap, over assessment, and confusion at the community level. There is a need for the standardization of the FDA with the long-term goal of specifying the purpose and objectives of each FDA used within regions.

Through the analysis of the four FDAs, a summary table was created below. The FDA tool used in British Columbia supports determining the acceptable level of funding by level of service standards for each community, using a tier system. The Tier 1 (Home Fire Safety Assessment), Tier2 (Community Risk Assessment) and Tier 3 system was put in place by Indigenous Services Canada to determine the acceptable level of community funding.

The FDA used in Saskatchewan is focused heavily on infrastructure of the fire department while the FDA used by the NIFSC/IFMS is focused on building capacity around fire department management and operations, with less emphasis on infrastructure. The FDA used in the QC region has been largely inspired by the Fire Safety Cover Plan and the Québec Public Security Minister’s orientations on Fire Safety.

Given these varying assessments, it is clear that further conversations are needed to ensure that Fire Departments are supported in a way that is beneficial to their operations. There is a need to find some commonality and combine the tools to formalize a standardized, regionally accepted FDA. If there are varying components, the purpose, goals, and objectives need to be specified.

TABLE 1: Review By Subject of the Assessment

Home Fire Safety Assessment Y
Community Fire Risk Assessment Y
Community Fire Prevention Assessment Y Y (1)
Fire Department Assessment Y Y Y Y
Fire Service Management Y
Fire Service Operations Y Y Y
Documentation Management Y
Occupational Health Programs Y Y Y
Fire Life Safety and Public Education Programs Y Y Y
Equipment Management and Maintenance Programs Y Y Y Y
Training Programs Y Y Y Y
Insurance and prosecution Y (2) Y (2)   Y
Fire Protection Mode Y Y Y
Budget Information Y Y Y
Fire Prevention Y Y (1) Y
Communications Systems   Y
Water Availability Y Y Y Y
Staffing and Training Y Y Y
Maintaining Skills (Practices) Y Y Y
Health, Safety, and PPE Y Y Y
Staff Availability   Y
Firehouse and Traveling Time Y (3)   Y
Deployment and Strategy   Y
Specialized Interventions   Y
Vehicle 1 Y   Y
Vehicle 2   Y

FSA BC:  BC playbook
FDI QC:  Québec fire safety cover plan
1:  For public education only
2:  Not on prosecution
3:  Firehouse only

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