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A GIS-Based Risk Assessment for the Columbia Fire Department

Authors: Tracy Whelen*, University of South Carolina
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Applied Geography
Keywords: fire, risk, emergency management, GIS, principal component analysis
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Risk related to everyday emergency incidents (structure fires, emergency medical calls, etc.) is a combination of multiple variables related to physical hazard and social vulnerability. All of these variables vary over space, including between communities within a single fire department’s response territory. Assessing these underlying levels of risk is an important activity for the fire service to plan effective response and prevention activities. Knowledge of which risk variables most greatly impact a given community can help the fire service deliver the most appropriate and effective outreach. This work uses GIS to assess how underlying community variations in physical and social vulnerability correlate with recent structure fire, carbon monoxide, and emergency medical calls of the Columbia Fire Department in Richland County, South Carolina. Principal component analysis is used identify which variables are most strongly correlated with past emergency incidents in neighborhoods will high call volumes.

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