Fire Prevention is Cheaper and More Effective than Fire Suppression
It’s obviously better to prevent a fire than to extinguish one that’s actively putting people and property at risk, but prevention efforts don’t often get the attention they deserve. Why is prevention so important?
Analyzing data from 1980 to 2014, the total cost of fire activities in the US was $329 billion.
The total cost of fires has been climbing over time (rising by 50% during that time period), while the effects of prevention and risk reduction activities have cut fire damage costs almost in half (47%).
Fire prevention measures can significantly reduce the extent of damage caused by a fire. For example, a well-maintained and properly functioning fire alarm system can detect a fire in its early stages, allowing for a quicker response and potentially limiting the spread of the fire.
On the other hand, fire suppression efforts often begin after the fire has already caused significant damage. In the case of wildfires, fire agencies may rally thousands of firefighters to slow or stop a fire (spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per week), even when the wildfire is large enough that suppression efforts are effectively futile.
More Efficient Use of Labor and Resources
Fire prevention is generally more cost-effective than fire suppression. The cost of installing and maintaining fire prevention systems, conducting regular inspections, and educating people about fire safety is often significantly less than the cost of suppressing a fire once it has started.
In contrast, fire suppression requires significant resources, including trained personnel, firefighting equipment, and often, a considerable amount of time. Fire suppression also involves the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property, potential healthcare costs for injuries, and in some cases, the cost of lives lost.
While prevention efforts like processing inspection paperwork don’t feel particularly efficient, today’s fire prevention tools can make a huge difference.
How Technology Helps with Proactive Fire Defense
Completing More Fire Inspections with Fewer Resources
Traditional fire inspection methods, while effective, have their limitations. They can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and prone to human error.
However, modern technology has updated the entire process. For instance, the mobile inspection app on 3Di Engage enables fire officials to manage everything from the field, including code look-up, inspections, viewing property and case history, and issuing citations, even in areas with poor or no connectivity.
With field and back-office tools like these, fire departments can make inspections much easier, maximizing their prevention impact with faster timelines and reduced costs. Inspectors can more easily track safety violations in bulk and see at a glance any outstanding violations a property owner may have.
Better Community Engagement and Education
Effective communication is a cornerstone of proactive fire defense. Technology has significantly improved the way fire departments communicate with the public and among themselves.
Strong community outreach tools empower communities to make service requests, find information, and get educated about risk reduction and community updates through intuitive online portals, available on both mobile and web.
Fire agencies using 3Di Engage for Fire can host an online portal, providing an easy-to-use platform for citizens and businesses to file complaints, request permits, receive notifications, make payments, and access important fire safety information
These online hubs help get the community more engaged in prevention efforts. For instance, digital permitting tools simplify the process of requesting and paying for permits, through the online portal, making it easy for the public to comply with fire safety regulations.
The portals also allow citizens to report potential fire hazards in their communities, which can be addressed promptly by the fire department. Education plays a crucial role in fire preparedness here too, with the portal enabling fire agencies to give updates, educational resources, and risk reduction strategies to the community.
Not to mention, in the event of a wildfire, an online citizen portal can be used to quickly disseminate information about evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and fire progression.
Allocate Resources More Effectively with Reporting & Analytics Tools
Reporting and analytics capabilities offer a real-time view of prevention activities, trends, and important insights, which can inform policy decisions and public education initiatives.
Proactive Steps for Safer Communities
The integration of technology in proactive fire defense has proven to be a game-changer, making fire defense more efficient, effective, and community-centric. A prime example of this is the collaboration between 3Di and the State of Ohio Fire Marshal (SFM) to launch an annual inspections module for fire prevention efforts.
This solution simplified scheduling, streamlined payment processing, and eliminated cumbersome processes, demonstrating the transformative power of technology in enhancing fire defense — and setting a promising precedent for future advancements. Get the full story in our case study on the partnership.