Fire Risk Protection Model & the Impact to Communities

Fire Risk Protection Model & the Impact to Communities

Cost Benefit Tool for Installing/Adding Smoke Detectors, CO Detectors and/or Sprinklers

Indigenous Peoples are over five times more likely to die in a fire (1). That number increases to over 10 times for First Nations people living on reserves. In response to this harrowing statistic, the NIFSC Research team has developed a cost-benefit decision tool to evaluate the costs associated with installing/adding smoke alarms, CO alarms, and/or sprinklers to homes – these are all proven to be effective ways of reducing deaths and injuries caused by house fires. This tool calculates costs with the ability to input and adapt data using actual local prices, thereby providing an accurate estimate of funding required against cost/life benefit.

The cost-benefit decision tool provides community leaders with a user-friendly interface for assessing the current risk of fire in their community, and the ability to model fire prevention scenarios to quickly see the effects on life safety alongside the associated costs. The outcomes of the tool can be used to develop policies and guide program decision-making relating to fire prevention and life safety in Indigenous communities.

What are the benefits?

The tool contains different cost assumptions for each input category so that communities can use cost estimations based on the situation that best fits their expected course of action. For example, two cost assumptions are available for smoke detector installation numbers based either on the number recommended by the National Code of Canada, or by the number used in past practice in the community.

The tool also has a customizable control table, in which the community can fine tune the values used for variables such as installation costs to more closely reflect the costs experienced by a community.

How does the tool relate to Home Safety Assessments (HSA)?

Indigenous homes with no sprinklers or smoke alarms have a 4.3 times greater chance of fire death than homes with smoke alarms and sprinklers. The presence of working smoke alarms is recorded in every HSA completed by the IFMS. When a community completes an HSA, a significant amount of valuable data is collected. The question then arises as to how a community can use the data to interpret the current situation in their community and develop an effective plan to improve fire and life safety. The data collected in HSA can be inputted into the cost-benefit decision tool so that a community may quickly visualize the effects and costs of implementing the installation of smoke alarms, sprinklers, and altering the funding or future funding of a fire department or municipal type service agreements (MTSA).

Where has the tool already been delivered?

The IFMS has delivered the cost-benefit decision tool model in eight communities:

  • Alberta: Bigstone Cree Nation, Enoch Cree Nation
  • Atlantic Region: Millbrook
  • Manitoba: Pine Creek
  • Ontario: Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, Independent First Nations Alliance, and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation
  • Quebec: Mohawks of Kahnawake.

For more information on how this tool can benefit your community, or how to use the tool.  please contact