DEPARTMENT PROGRAM EVALUATION
The next step is to analyze the program’s development and document its early implementation. If you have to make any changes to your program, do so quickly. Obviously everyone wants to see success early on, and there are some things that you can do to see early success. For example, focus on the high-risk areas in your district. This will give the greatest early returns.
Constantly analyze your findings and evaluate your methods, and then implement the necessary changes for the success of your home safety visit program. Understand that to make a measurable difference, this approach requires a long-term commitment of at least several years. Jump to an example of a data-collection form that will help document results for home safety visits. The form provided is an example of the type of data you would want to collect in order to track the results your program is producing. But analyzing this data is required in order to understand how it might demonstrate results to others over time. And it is critical to interpret the results to gain valuable insights for future planning so that you can continually improve your program.
As you gather data, it is important to use that data to drive your operational decisions, and again, measure both your successes and challenges. Some suggested metrics include:
- Number of doors knocked on in relation to homes where you were able to gain access
- Number of alarms working before installing and number of working alarms after installing
- Number of alarms working just after visit; number of alarms working six months later and one year later
- Total number of alarms installed
- Random sampling of homes for working alarms – not all homes
- Indicators of educational gain in home – some random pre/post testing of the educational component
- Tracking over time the fire incidence and fatalities in homes visited versus not visited
A free training course is available from Vision 20/20 to help fire departments with their program evaluation. Share this course with your team.