- Fire prevention: the most cost-effective and efficient mitigation program an agency or community can implement. Preventing unwanted, damaging fires is always less costly than suppressing them. Prevention programs that are accepted and promoted within the community not only reduce costs and resource damage, but also promote an understanding of the role and impact of fire in the ecosystem;
- Fire preparedness: includes training, equipping and staffing prior to the start of a fire. An effective fire preparedness program should be based on ‘fire risk and resource management’ planning, and should take into account year-to-year variations in funding, weather and human activities.
2. Analysis of Innovative Fire Risk Management Practice in EU Countries
3. Materials and Methods
4. The Outline of the Experiment
4.1. Step 1: Collection and Preparation of Information
4.2. Step 2: Territorial Spatial Analysis
4.3. Step 3: Determination of Unprotected Buildings
4.4. Step 4: Analysis and Evaluation
5. Results of the Experiment and Discussion of the Approach
6. Conclusions and Recommendations
- Review of fire risk management practice in EU countries and Lithuania exposed that following the best European experience from Germany and Austria, it is essential to prepare an accessible day-to-day database for responsible organizations and outside public utilities by using tools for maximizing the fire risk preparedness.
- A geographic information system is a powerful tool to achieve fire risk management missions, so as to enhance situational awareness, improve a fire fighter’s safety, access real-time fire data, and control efforts, as well as develop existing strategies, optimize resource placement, and also develop a budget, support incident management mapping and evaluation. These missions are succeeded with GIS by creating hydrants and fire brigade’s infrastructure maps, analysing response zones, pre-planning and managing responsible inspections, etc. Based on GIS methodology, implementation of GIS technologies for fire and rescue control highly depends on proper project planning and management.
- The article presents a four-step approach comprising collection and preparation of data, territorial spatial analysis, determination of unprotected buildings, analysis and evaluation. Moreover, this case study reveals qualitative and quantitative aspects in research on the accessibility of fire hydrants. While comprehensiveness may be desirable in the analysis of urban infrastructures, this article presents a qualitative approach that could be easily replicated in other cities where GIS-based fire risk management systems under consideration or in the early development phase. The experiment in this case study might be interesting in the sense that it has been applied to a real city and leads to a systematization of the need for quantitative data.
- During the experiment, the Vilnius municipal hydrants system was developed and a database of seven fire brigades operating in separate Vilnius town parts was created. This experiment was based on a GIS database, and an analysis of the accessibility of 4517 fire hydrants and 280 natural water ponds points in Vilnius were performed. Spatial experimental methods (clip, split, select, spatial join, buffer tools, etc.) were applied to determine problematic zones without access to fire hydrants. Fire hydrant access point (200 m) and natural water ponds (1000 m) buffers were applied to measure the building’s reachability. As a result, 3027 buildings’ polygons were identified without any water extinguishing possibility. The most important ‘Unprotected area’ layer as a polygon was created with a 49,307.17 ha area, and it is 13.51% of the Vilnius Fire Brigade’s operation area. The further comparative analysis reveals that the primary priority task is to formulate the appropriate technical accessibility and capacity of the fire hydrants, as Lithuanian instructions and rules indicate, and only the secondary task is to consider the density of the population or buildings area.
- After visualization of the accessibility of municipal fire hydrants in Vilnius city, it was observed that there are 735 thousand m2 of unprotected building’s area (or 3027 units). These experimental results require further experimental analysis with more data (private extinguishing system, underground water lines, etc.).
- As a follow-up to the findings of this research, the following recommendations are suggested for improving the fire risk management in Lithuania:
- The Fire and Rescue Department must integrate GIS as software for fire risk management. The accessibility of the fire hydrants experiment with GIS was a significant example that information systems could be a useful tool for saving time and making investigations of identifying unprotected buildings.
- Theoretically identified unprotected areas could be solved by providing new hydrants’ installation, but the determination of hydrant access points requires more specific data and information (private extinguishing systems, municipal water networks, Vilnius development plan, etc.). It is recommended to employ not only existing information, but the future Vilnius development plan for future research.
- To avoid additional costs and save expenses for future fire hydrants’ installation, it is important to create a complex GIS system that could be implemented with other department’s data and could help to eliminate mistakes and failures.
- Learning from EU countries’ experience, it is recommended to develop fire risk management, not only on legal and institutional policies, but also on organizations, agencies and communities which shall also be involved in the sustainable development of fire safety.
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|Fire Brigade||Address||Operation Area, ha||Number of Fire Hydrants Access Points||Number of Natural Water Ponds|
|1||R. Jankausko g. 2, Vilnius||4736.97||660||15|
|2||Švitrigailos g. 18, Vilnius|
(with Fire and Rescue Department)
|3||Ateities g. 17, Vilnius||12,772.16||1127||78|
|4||Pergalės g. 31, Vilnius||4669.63||268||31|
|5||Kirtimų g. 37, Vilnius||13,644.19||367||52|
|6||P. Vileišio g. 20A, Vilnius||9026.50||974||29|
|7||Švenčionių g. 64A, Nemenčinė||2335.87||48||19|
|Vilnius District||District Area, ha||Quantity of Unprotected Buildings||Area of Unprotected Buildings, m2||Percentage of Total Unprotected Building’s Area, %|
|Area of Fire Brigade 1|
|Area of Fire Brigade 2|
|Area of Fire Brigade 3|
|Area of Fire Brigade 4|
|Area of Fire Brigade 5|
|Area of Fire Brigade 6|
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