Fire Prevention and Life Safety

Demographics and Community Risk Profile

Columbia Southern University

Demographics and Community Risk Profile

Part A: Brevard County, FL Demographics

Part B: Rockledge, FL Demographics

  • Housing/ Location
    • Owner or renter-occupied units71.7%
    • Age and condition of structuresNot reported
    • Percentage of vacant/abandoned or blighted structuresNot reported
    • Proximity to colleges/universities or facilities with transient
    • or seasonal populationNot reported
  • People
    • Population density535.0
    • Age levels
      • Persons under 5 years4.8%
      • Persons under 18 years18.5%
      • Persons 65 years and over23.2%
        • Gender
          • Female persons51.2%
          • Male persons48.8%
            • Levels of education
              • High school graduate or higher91.2%
              • Bachelor degree or higher27.7%
                • Household/family structures
                • Person per household2.47
                • Living in the same house more than 1 year85.2%
                • Persons with disabilities
                • Under 65 years old9.6%
                • Person without health insurance13.5%
              • Economic Information
                • Family incomeNot reported
                • Median income$49,914
                • Economic projections for the communityNot reported
                • Persons below the poverty level14.7%
                • Persons receiving public assistanceNot reported
                • Person in public housingNot reported

                Part C: Rockledge Risks

                • Housing/ Location
                  • Owner or renter-occupied units76.4%
                  • Age and condition of structuresNot reported
                  • Percentage of vacant/abandoned or blighted structuresNot reported
                  • Proximity to colleges/universities or facilities with transient
                  • or seasonal populationNot reported
                • People
                  • Population density2,086.7
                  • Age levels
                    • Persons under 5 years5.3%
                    • Persons under 18 years20.9%
                    • Persons 65 years and over17.6%
                      • Gender
                        • Female persons52.1%
                        • Male persons47.9%
                          • Levels of education
                            • High school graduate or higher93.2%
                            • Bachelor degree or higher31.7%
                              • Household/family structures
                              • Person per household2.51
                              • Living in the same house more than 1 year88.6%
                              • Persons with disabilities
                              • Under 65 years old10.1%
                              • Person without health insurance17.1%
                            • Economic Information
                              • Family incomeNot reported
                              • Median income$57,054
                              • Economic projections for the communityNot reported
                              • Persons below the poverty level10.3%
                              • Persons receiving public assistanceNot reported
                              • Person in public housingNot reported

                            Rockledge is the first city founded in Brevard County, Florida and it is vulnerable to a wide range of naturally-occurring risks. The city is located only few miles away from the Atlantic Ocean which make it exposed to many hurricanes, being some of them very destructive. Rockledge, as well Brevard County, are threaten by heavy rains during the summer, especially during the months of July, August, and September. These meteorological events are responsible for flooding, tornadoes, and landslides. Additionally, the community is known for high temperatures and humidity that are the origin of heat stress and related incidents, especially for elderly and infant citizens which together represent almost a quarter of the whole population. Rockledge is also a well-known retiree community. Mild temperatures during all year, beaches, and leisure structures attract many retired people from the north of the country. This peculiarity in the population pose a serious threat in case of evacuation due to the phenomenon above described because an important number of residents is over 65 years old (17.6%) and many of them have disabilities (10.1%). However, these are not the only risks that firefighters face.

                            • Human-created risks
                            • Pollution/Unexpected fires
                              • Aged vehicle (average age is 7 years)
                              • Lack of pollution legislation
                              • Lack of controls and enforcement on vehicles
                            • Freight trains
                              • Risk of accidents involving hazardous materials
                              • Unguarded railroad crossing
                              • Urbanized areas too close to the railroad
                              • Noise
                            • Nuclear plant
                              • Potential accidents
                              • Radioactive pollution
                            • Gas stations
                              • Number of gas stations
                              • Vicinity between them
                              • Service 24 hours
                            • Waste water treatment plant
                              • Potential accidents involving nitrogen
                              • Massive urbanization
                              • Deforestation
                              • Aged infrastructures
                            • Naturally-occurring risks
                              • Hurricanes
                              • Flooding
                              • Tornados
                              • Landslides
                              • Extreme high temperature (heat stress)

                            Human-created hazards are well present in my community. The vicinity of the nuclear plant that supplies electricity to the majority of the state is the main risk in the county. Potential accidents and radioactive pollution threat the population every day. The water treatment plant also put the citizens at risk. This facility deals with nitrogen and other hazardous materials that are delivered on a daily basis with trucks. A hospital and two retirement homes are very close to this structure and this is one of the main concerns of the fire department. Another identified risk is the presence of too many gas stations within the city limits. These are constructed too close to each other and in case of accidents a potential chain reaction can be originated. Freight trains transporting hazardous materials cross the city and pass too close several urbanizations densely populated and this is another main concern of the fire department with the addition of unguarded railroads crossing that confuse drivers and had caused several deadly accidents. Additional risk identified in the community are old infrastructures that pose a risk of collapse causing potential mass casualties and pollution and fire risk due to old vehicles circulating in the city. This last risk is aggravate owing to lack of regulations that make mandatory a proper maintenance on vehicles.

                            Rockledge is a very nice city, located in a great position, with a lot of history; however, the type of businesses within the city limits, the old structures that are not well maintained, and the conformation of the population with a quarter of citizens, between children and elderlies, with reduced mobility put this community at high risk in case of accidents, owing to natural causes or to human activities. The positive note is that there are three main fire stations and the firefighters are well aware of the risks that threat the community so they can intervene promptly and in the pertinent way. However, a preparedness and response plan are strongly recommended.

                            References

                            David Diamantes (2016). Principles of fire prevention (updated 3rd Ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.