We know that the death and injury rates related to fire are higher among Indigenous peoples than others.
We also know that Indigenous peoples are between 5 and 17 times more likely to die in a fire. This is the important information that comes from data collection and research. The NIFSC recognizes the importance of having Indigenous-specific information and has developed a robust research program to ensure that the decisions being made about fire and life safety in Indigenous communities are based on the best available evidence from Indigenous communities.
In 2021-2022, the NIFSC will continue with its research agenda to support data-informed decision making and community-informed research initiatives. Research areas include looking at ways to attract Indigenous peoples to the fire services as well as creating more career opportunities, using data and statistics to help improve home safety education through the proper use and care of fire alarms, and finding ways to create fire-safe communities and faster responses through fire safety champions.
According to NIFSC’s Director of Research, Len Garis, the NIFSC research program is designed to be “as inclusive as is humanly possible…It doesn’t represent somebody else’s idea or somebody else’ focus. It represents Indigenous communities. Full stop.”
What this means is that Indigenous communities are partners in research to ensure that the best decisions possible are being made while also making ensuring that decisions are evidence informed. For example, the Ontario Chief Coroner’s Table on Understanding Fire Deaths in First Nations found that response time and fire suppression have limited impacts on survival, but that education and prevention are essential. This is the kind of research and the kind of information that will make a noticeable difference in our communities. We encourage communities to actively participate in this process.
The following research topics are currently underway through the NIFSC Project:
- Fire Department Diversity and Inclusion, Creating Opportunities for Indigenous Recruitment
- Community-Based Fire Research
- Apparatus Capital Equipment Recycling
- Fire Safety Messaging Research
- Fire Safety Ambassador
- Building Research Capacity and Oversight at the NIFSC