Document Type

Professional Plan Capstone

Original Publication Date



Richmond Regional Planning District Commission


Richmond, VA

Date of Submission

May 2019


In 2017, 1.3 million fires in the U.S. caused 3,400 deaths, 14,600 injuries, and $23 billion in loss. Vulnerable populations are less resilient due to their lack of adequate access to financial, medical, and community resources as well as their propensity to reside in substandard housing. This plan studies the impacts of Richmond’s residential fires (2015-2017) on vulnerable communities within the city. Its purpose is to provide an understanding of where fires occurred in vulnerable communities and to recommend actions for prevention education.

The plan is divided into six sections: Introduction, Background, Methodology, Findings, Recommendations, and Implementation. A Social Vulnerability Index was created at the block group level to determine vulnerability across the city and seven factors were used to calculate the index. The factors include children fourteen and under, adults 65 and over, persons with a disability, minorities (Black and Hispanic), families below the poverty line, number of under-educated, and number of multifamily structures. Furthermore, correlation coefficients were run to determine which factors have the strongest positive correlation to fires.

Five block groups had 20 or more fires in the three-year period. All five have at least a moderate level of vulnerability, and three of the five are highly vulnerable. Poverty and minority status have the highest positive correlations to the number of fires: .68 and .61, respectively.

Recommendations based on findings and best practices are provided to the Richmond Regional PDC and Richmond Fire Department. Lastly, an implementation timeline identifies actions according to short-term, mid-range, and long-term ranges.


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Is Part Of

Master of Urban and Regional Planning Capstone Projects