Seminar on Measuring the impact of fire prevention activities under the Estonian CBSS Presidency a summary November 2014, Tallinn

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1 Seminar on Measuring the impact of fire prevention activities under the Estonian CBSS Presidency a summary November 2014, Tallinn A number of civil protection seminars/conferences have been held in the region, but this seminar held in Tallinn on Measuring the impact of fire prevention activities under the Estonian CBSS Presidency can be considered unique due to the fact that this is the first time when Baltic Sea States handled together the fire prevention topic. The seminar took place in Tallinn at the Meriton Grand Conference & Spa Hotel and hosted 46 participants from 8 BSR countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Finland, and Russia. The seminar was organized and hosted by the Estonian Rescue Board (ERB). The main objective of the two-day seminar was to share the best practices of fire prevention work, practices of impact measuring and the exchange of strategies to reduce the number of fire casualties and severe damages. The seminar was opened by Ambassador Raul Mälk, Chair of the CSO under the Estonian CBSS Presidency for , who gave a presentation on the thoughts and priorities for the Estonian Presidency period. The Estonian Rescue Board Strategy was presented by Mr Alo Tammsalu, Deputy Director General of the ERB. The ERB strategy is needed for better planning, unitary future oriented direction as well as to face the changing external environment with confidence. According to the new ERB strategy, it is the ERB s mission to prevent accidents and to save lives, property and the environment. Values of the ERB are helpfulness, courage and trust. The ERB s vision is to reduce accidents and losses to the level seen in the Nordic countries through cooperation. More efficient cooperation with partners is crucial for the successful implementation of the new ERB strategy. The involvement of all relevant partners in ensuring security is one of the biggest challenges in front of ERB. It is important to raise awareness for the safety of populations through campaigns, trainings and consulting. Until recent years crews have been the heart of response, now they are the heart of prevention. Emphasis is put particularly on young people as the creation of values starts at early age. Prevention becomes more precise as the ERB intends to offer appropriate safety solutions to specific environments. The ERB puts its efforts also into helping to create more secure physical living environment. Estonia does not have equal financial capabilities as the Nordic countries, so the biggest challenge in front of ERB is to change the mentality of people. Each inhabitant shall: raise aware of dangers and know how to protect 1

2 himself/herself; take responsibility for himself/herself and do everything to ensure his/her safety; ensure the safety of his/her friends and family members. By behaving safely ourselves, we also gain the right to expect this from others. An overview was given about the ERB activities in fire prevention and its results. ERB has moved from being a responsive organization into a preventive portfolio. In 2006, emergency prevention became one of the main areas and a separate field of activity. All over Estonia there are 35 employees dealing with prevention work. ERB emergency prevention services cover informing, teaching and consulting and the main objective is to raise the citizens awareness on fire safety and reduce the number of deaths caused by accidents. The Fire Safety Awareness Index is used since Until the year 2006 Estonia was one of the leaders in world statistics in the number of fire deaths per citizens. Number of fire casualties has since 2006 decreased remarkably: , and by 2025 it can be expected to be 12(0,9) or less. An in-depth scientific overview was given on the topic of excessive risk-taking: contributing factors and prevention. Funding options for future projects were presented by the CBSS Secretariat delegation members. Each participating country gave a presentation on the topic of measurement of impact of prevention activities. Countries of the region are at different levels of development in the measuring of the impact of prevention activities. Estonia has carried out impact measurement to some extent, Finland is only starting to deal with the issue and Russia has not started yet. Approaches of the country presentations varied, but nevertheless each of them gave a new and interesting angle of prevention activities in the region. A presentation on Indicators for enhanced fire safety, which was highly appraised by the seminar participants, was given by Ms Mona Pütsep, Evaluator of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. Participants of the seminar also had the chance to see a scientific and educational documentary about fire safety called Theorem of Fire (MEDEA Finalist 2010). 1. The most popular topic among seminar participants was Fire Safety Awareness Index (FSAI) research and it was agreed that this topic needs to be discussed more thoroughly. What is FSAI? The reason for an integrated indicator the index arose from very practical and human concerns there was the need for one magic number that simplifies the complexity of 2

3 public awareness-attitudes-behaviour sub-indicators. Creating an index (or indexing) is one possibility to integrate different aspects of complexity of phenomenon and can give an overview of numbers. The integrated or synthesised number is usually less dynamic (fluctuate) compared to a raw indicator from survey. FSAI is not the only or right way to measure effectiveness of fire prevention activities, but it is one of the possibilities. FSAI is one of the the indicators in the Estonian Rescue Board Strategy for Smoke alarm became mandatory from the second half of the year 2009 in all the households in Estonia and it was decided that media campaigns would be used for informing and motivating people to fulfil this requirement. The holistic picture about public awareness, attitude and behaviour in the area of household fire prevention was missing in So the primary aim of the study was to map the situation in order to get an insight for the plan for communication activities and to fix the baseline for further effectiveness evaluation surveys. To ensure the validity of the indicators, three aspects (criteria) where followed in the process of the creation of the survey questionnaire: 1) the basic model of behavioural change described through awareness, attitudes and behaviour; 2) the main indicators which describe the informed fire prevention behaviour by people at home and which are: *Measurable via the survey method; *influenced by prevention activities that the ERB can use (media communication, events education and control) You can see that the main topic the smoke detector issues are presented through awarenessattitude-behaviour questions. Countries agreed that it is important to have a list of indicators, the number of which should be rather small than big. Information for the indicators compiling should be gathered from the surrounding environment: private enterprises, insurance companies, local self-governments, rescue institutions, etc. 2. Another challenging topic according to the seminar participants was neuromarketing - a new approach of marketing research and how it can be used in the fire prevention activities. According to the neuromarketing researches it turned out that threatening people in advertisement campaigns with fire death is not the most effective approach. It also turned out from corresponding researches that in the behaviour of human beings emotions come first, then people act and only lastly start to think. This is something which definitely should be taken into account when planning fire prevention activities in the countries. 3

4 3. One of the common problems with the fire prevention activities impact measuring is the request of politicians to handle to them immediate good results. Main argument of the politicians is that they give money for the prevention activities, yet in some cases the number of casualties still increases. The question is: why educating young people if there are more elderly people in the societies? A lot of work still needs to be done in relation to fire prevention work impact measuring in correlation with the understanding of the politicians of it. It would be a good start to introduce to the FSAI in comparison with various generations and various countries to policymakers. 4. A joint viewpoint at the seminar was that we should introduce the number of casualties to policymakers and reduce it, but we should also talk about the scope of property losses. It is important to show the big burdens that fires can put on societies. In Lithuania fires are divided into categories: large scale fires, small scale fires, etc. Various indicators are measured in relation to the fires. 5. Several countries at the seminar said that they have a problem to make firefighters to carry out preventive activities and there is a lack of such training program for the firefighters. Elaboration of such a program would be the most effective if Fire and Rescue Schools of the countries would initiate a joint project in the BSR. 6. CBSS Secretariat expressed its wish BSR countries to start a new project in the region concerning the seminar topics. Questions which still need to be subject of deeper discussions are: - Is the fire prevention work we carry out appropriate and effective? - Very often some prevention activities are carried out in countries, but are the sums allocated for such work reasonable, are there visible positive results from these prevention activities? - If speaking about the casualties number, how do we measure which number is good, which is not? It is more than clear that we always want better and better results, conditions, but how do we measure it all? ERB has carried out a lot of prevention activities, not all of them have been as effective as we have wished. It is always important to carry out a cost-efficiency analysis, propose new and better solutions and not to use solutions, which do not work. From the panel discussion of the seminar it turned out that Sweden considered the seminar as successful and the most challenging themes for the country representative were the topics of FSAI and neuromarketing. Sweden proposed an idea to have a project on the topic of measurement of the impact of fire prevention activities. 4

5 Poland considered the seminar extremely useful and named two main topics which would be of interest for Poland: FSAI and indicators for the evaluation. Poland proposed elaboration of specific recommendations concerning the measuring of the effectiveness of fire prevention activities. In discussions with CBSS, Poland and other countries at the seminar, it turned out that Poland will be the next CBBS Presidency country and there is no project yet from Poland. It was agreed that Polish representative will consult on the topic with his Headquarters and will inform other countries and CBSS about its readiness to initiate and lead a new project in the field. To sum up the seminar it was concluded that Baltic Sea Region countries have a lot of all kind of data and analyses, but the question is whether the information already available can be used effectively for fire prevention work, whether the prevention activities already carried out have been effective. Due to the constantly changing surrounding environment new problems arise and need to be analysed, need new type of feedback. This work is expensive and complicated and needs the involvement of various partners. The question is how could countries develop the field together? It is more than obvious that several countries handling the issue together gives better results than just one country doing it on its own. We must bear in mind that our levels of development in the topic of fire safety prevention activities impact measurement vary, but here is the possibility to learn more thoroughly from each other s experiences, which methods countries use, carry out mutual visits, learn about the prevention activities, structures in other countries. 5

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