"Every day we make personal decisions concerning our acceptable level of risk. We do it when we decide where to live, what type of vehicle to purchase, or whether to buy life insurance or a homeowner's policy to protect our contents. We also determine the risk we are willing to accept and able to afford when we set the deductible limits for our automobile insurance policies. The same is true of elected officials making decisions during their annual budget process when they weigh their constituents' competing demands for services versus their willingness and/or ability to pay taxes. The balance between risk and resources involves policy decisions. It involves making tough decisions about public needs and public funding. The economic reality is that most communities are either unable or unwilling to bear the cost of providing enough resources to fund every possible scenario. To do so would mean that schools, fire, police, public works and other essential services could not be adequately funded. As frustrating as it might be to a risk-reduction leader, funding is both an economic and political decision. The community is willing to accept the gap or deficiency known as the acceptable level of risk."
Coffee Break Training - Fire Prevention and Public Education Series No. FM-2013-5
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/