Fairfax, VA – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) recently surveyed its 12,600 members to determine their perceptions of the new color-coded “Security (Threat) Advisory System” which has been proposed by Director Tom Ridge of the President’s Office of Homeland Defense. An analysis of the findings was compiled and a formal report containing the results was forwarded to the Department of Justice on Friday, April 26th as part of the open public “comment period” before the implementation of the program. In this way, the IAFC was able to combine all the many voices of the Fire Service into one strong message that will convey our critical interest in this issue.
Nearly 1,000 IAFC members responded to the web-based survey, and many had strong words of caution with regard to the proposed system. Several significant findings emerged from the survey, most notably including the following facts:
- Nearly 75% of all respondents felt that the color-coded alert system may actually benefit the public in some way, but also said it will likely have very little value for the Fire Service as a whole;
- Many respondents questioned the format of the alert system itself, and wondered why an additional color code was being added to the numerous scales now in place, ranging from the F-0-to-5 tornado scale to the colorized national weather maps and familiar DOD “DefCon” threat alert levels; and
- Most respondents voiced concern about how the threat level information will be conveyed including questions of how such alerts will be communicated, through whom or what, how fast, who analyzes, and how accurately the information will be transmitted.
The formal report document is available for download at the site in PDF format with the charts saved in Powerpoint. In addition, there are two separate links posted for “Question #7” and “Question #9” which contain the full text responses from the two open-ended (opinion) questions.