Definition of Risk Project Webinar 1 - Questions and Answers

The following questions and answers were raised at the first Definition of Risk project webinar, which took place on 30 March 2021. This was a live webinar attended by UK fire ands rescue service (FRS) risk and data experts. To view the webinar recording, click here.

1. The Incident Recording System (IRS) is very limited and inconsistent in what it captures in relation to influencing factors for domestic dwelling fires. It doesn’t ask all the right questions.

It is accepted that the IRS dataset has limitations, however in determining the influencing factors with the highest correlation within Phase 2 of the Project, for both likelihood and consequence, a fundamental deliverable is a detailed gap analysis including the issue of data access or meaningful available data sources. 

2. Given that the vast majority of dwelling fires result in no fatalities, casualties or rescues, we (as a sector) capture no information in IRS about the individuals that experience the fires and the human behaviour that resulted in the fire. 

The Proof of Concept will consider the relationship between human behaviour and the likelihood and consequence components, but it is recognised that IRS datasets will not provide the necessary evidence base for any determinations. 

3. The Incident Recording System (IRS) hasn’t been updated since 2012 and the taxonomy e.g. for property types doesn’t align well with those used for protection. 

The Proof of Concept stage for this project will produce a detailed gap analysis, identifying any shortcomings in the data requirements. The Project engages closely with the Home Office Fire Statistics Team and will raise findings with them to identify potential solutions to this problem. 

4. Will we be able to link to datasets/ develop API to allow internal database management, and reporting integrated with other software, such as on PowerBI? 

We hope this will be the case. We are working very closely with the NFCC Digital and Data programme, which is looking to create a “National Data Hub” (NDH) – we’re hoping that data that we use for this project will be made available on the NDH for use by all FRSs. 

5. It would be great to adopt but adapt the products as we all grow together through the phases, so we all end with the same product?  

We agree! We hope that through continued communication and engagement with all UK FRS SPOCs that this will happen. We understand that the product may need to be adapted for local use, but hope that this will still bring about consistency and enable justifiable differences. 

6. Has there been any evaluation of the risk methodologies used to create the National Security Risk Assessment to consider applying them to the fire sector? 

During Phase 1 several methodologies were looked at when developing the methodology for Phase 2. At face value the components are similar, i.e. likelihood and consequence (severity) and the considerations we will take this into account. There will also be an opportunity to revisit this when setting the risk criteria. 

7. The approach seems to be at a micro level, within fire prevention there are aspects around primary versus secondary fires, accidental versus deliberate, cause of fire etc. By going into domestic fire risk, it isn’t clear how the macro elements will be covered? The approach suggested could result in a massive amount of individual risk analysis being completed? A wider level of risk assessment could direct individual FRS to areas of focus and interest?

The digital CRMP toolkit is being designed so that services will utilise elements of the toolkit as they see fit to support their local risk assessment, as opposed to an end-to-end process from start to finish. Currently, the work being undertaken in Phase 2 is ambitious, and it won’t be until it is complete that we will understand what is achievable within the toolkit. The intention is to widen the incident types out once the methodology is built, tried, and tested. The approach is ‘micro’ as the earlier research undertaken within the Programme has highlighted the need for more granular detail to support greater consistency within the CRMP process. 

8. It would be great for you to contact some of the third party suppliers that many FRSs use, I’d be interested to understand whether what is being developed will compliment these existing platforms or are you looking to this being an alternative?

We are doing just that. We’ve spoken to some third party suppliers and hope to engage with other suppliers providing digital platforms to FRSs. Ideally, we would like to work side by side with suppliers in our next phase (digital development) and ensure that we can release a product that is compatible with all suppliers and can easily be integrated with local platforms – mainly to minimise the amount of change that will be required for FRSs that choose to adopt it. 

9. Will the work cover non-specific Fire risks, i.e. flooding is not a statutory duty but likely to be picked up in current IRMPs and LRF risk registers?

In the first stage of our work (for phase 2) we will be looking at a wider range of hazardous events that we can consider when scaling the methodology – we’re not ruling any hazardous events out immediately but will let everyone know what our list looks like nearer the time. This will be based on the amount of incidents and level of data available. 

10. How far will this allow for the consideration of relative risk between different hazards? Eg dwelling fires versus road traffic collisions? How will risk be benchmarked against different hazards?

At this stage it would be difficult to achieve this in a national toolkit and would be for FRSs to determine locally. In addition, this Project is one of a number of Projects within the CRP which will come together to form the digital CRMP toolkit. For example, a key component for consequence will be the Economic and Social Value of the UK FRS Project’s products, which will feed into understanding of the economic and social consequences of hazardous events (i.e. whilst secondary fires may be more likely based on incident numbers, the economic and social cost/value will likely separate them). The programme has been keen from the start to highlight that the products it produces will only support FRSs in their CRMP production, as opposed to making decisions around them. Given local variables, it would be difficult at a national level to consider the relative risk between different hazards or benchmark between different hazards. 

11. How will the model deal with the low likelihood and high consequence events?

The modelling approach relies on incident volume to determine the links to likelihood and risk. Working at a national level means that some low likelihood outcomes such as fatalities are viable for analysis and modelling. 

Additionally, some incident types are unsuitable for this approach as they are specialist areas and require information that we cannot obtain. Incidents such as train derailments and hazmat incidents fall into this category.