SCEF was developed with funding provided through DHS/FEMA’s Grant Program Directorate for Assistant to Firefighters Grant Program – Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.
The Vision 20/20 Project, hosted by the Institution of Fire Engineers USA Branch, has been in existence for over 12 years. During this time the Project has focused on helping the U.S. fire and emergency services understand and integrate Community Risk Reduction (CRR) principles to build safe, healthy and resilient communities across America. Vision 20/20 has engaged a coalition of organizations and experts to identify gaps and provide dynamic, adaptive, and proven strategies and resources to reduce death, injury and fire loss.
Gaining nationwide support toward integration of CRR principles and practices has been a long, challenging journey that has produced measurable gains. A key success strategy has been to reduce fire risk through the support of working smoke alarms and home safety visit programs within a set of high-risk states. As an incentive, the Project supported these states with smoke alarms funded through Assistance to Firefighters Fire Prevention and Safety grants. As with any new effort, there were some initial challenges with identifying and engaging partners to build momentum in these states. By working with stakeholders, Vision 20/20 has crafted methods and materials to help accelerate adoption of best practices at state and local levels through a Statewide Collaboration and Engagement Framework (SCEF).
Central to this framework is the utilization of subject matter experts with first-hand success in managing CRR both on a state and local level, called Technical Advisors (TA’s). Under the direction of an experienced Project Manager and Technical Advisor Team Leader, each Technical Advisor is assigned to work strategically with partners in their state. The original group of high-risk states that Vision 20/20 has worked with included Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia. Over the course of the past 6 months, this group of highly motivated individuals have participated in a strategic planning process, providing insight and guidance across a broad spectrum. They have developed specific recommendations to improve and streamline the SCEF to better serve the needs of each state with positive implications nationwide. Through discussions we identified a number of challenges that had a direct impact on current strategies and levels of success and achieved consensus on modifications that provide pathways for retention, engagement, goal-setting, incentives and sustainability. The program is now better defined, with direction and objectives for the technical advisory group to increase participation and engagement in these state partnerships. During this time, we also took measured steps to add a number of new states to the SCEF and will continue planning for scalability and focus on growth towards a national effort.
The strategic planning process that defined the Statewide Collaboration and Engagement Framework (SCEF), focuses on SMART goals and objectives to address the challenges of statewide planning and implementation. These efforts coincided with the Vision 20/20 Steering Committee strategic planning meetings to bring our statewide efforts into a parallel track with the overall mission, vision and values and long-term goals and objectives of the Vision 20/20 Project.
To build a national coalition of states engaged in adopting and implementing best practices in Community Risk Reduction using inclusive and diverse teams to achieve measurable and sustainable results in building safe, healthy and resilient communities.
- Increase the number of working smoke alarms in the United States,
- Increase the knowledge surrounding the principles and practices of CRR,
- Integrate CRR and risk management into all disciplines within the U.S. fire and emergency services,
- Bring diversity and inclusiveness to CRR discussions at the State and National level,
- Foster a supportive environment for cultural change across the fire service to support CRR and,
- Build a nationwide coalition of diverse teams to address emerging issues and support legislation for safer, healthy and resilient communities
- Identify state partners interested in developing a collaborative approach to stakeholder involvement on the CRR level
- Assist in the formative and process phases of collaborative CRR efforts
- Identify a matrix to evaluate the current landscape and capabilities within any state
- Focus on the core principles and practices of CRR to incorporate risk assessments and planning
- Provide facilitation, training and guidance for Statewide Community Risk Assessments, CRR strategic planning and sustainability
- Identify strategies to have states progressively move across the matrix to the next level through well-defined goals and objectives
- Drive sustainable statewide efforts by building collaborative, diverse and inclusive teams that provide a pathway to sustainability
- Incentivize states for their participation through grant funded smoke alarms, provide access to training courses, guides, access to a national peer network of like-minded fire service groups and teams, participation in National CRR Summits held every 2 years at the Vision 20/20 symposium as well as other program incentives and materials
- Engage and develop SCEF national partners to assist in building sustainable funding for these efforts
- Provide recognition and incentives for statewide teams based on matrix assessment and progression
- Capture best practices and lessons learned to incorporate into Vision 20/20’s State Guide to Supporting Community Risk Reduction Programs
- Build a coalition of national partners to provide support to states to gain momentum for national integration of CRR
- Provide opportunities for evaluation and measurement on a national level
- Develop an unparalleled national network to evaluate emerging issues and provide legislative support
The Statewide Collaboration and Engagement Framework provides a vision for the future integration of Community Risk Reduction across the U.S. fire and emergency services. When looking strategically at Vision 20/20’s efforts over the past dozen years, a strong focus has been placed on various strategies, including increasing the number of working smoke alarms, reducing fire loss and related fatalities across the nation, building knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices of CRR and highlighting the importance of collaboration in our efforts. In working with a set of high-risk states, the Vision 20/20 Project along with our team of Technical Advisors undertook to reevaluate the mission and goals of these statewide efforts. Incorporating lessons learned, a pathway to generate a focused effort towards building a set of achievable goals and objectives to drive mission success is now available. The ability to reimagine our future in respect to a set of complex educational, technical, logistical and cultural issues has produced an innovative, forward-leaning and visionary approach to break down the complexity of these issues and serve as a catalyst for sustainable results.
The new Statewide Collaboration and Engagement Framework builds upon the lessons learned and acknowledges the fact that each state is unique. Each brings its own set of assets and needs, requiring a nuanced and customized approach. The framework is adaptable to address the current landscape within each state and take steps to move them forward to achieve measured goals and objectives. Thinking of it as a journey, where a state currently is within the framework is simply a spot on their pathway to success. It is meant to inspire and stimulate conversation between a diverse coalition of state partners, who have a mutually beneficial goal of creating safe, healthy and resilient communities.