Today’s firefighters do more than fight fires when they occur. Through the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey, the International Association of Fire Chief’s Near-Miss Reporting System, and other data collection activities, they provide the data that helps us understand the causes and circumstances of fires so we can prevent the fires in the first place and better protect the public, firefighters themselves, and property from fire. Almost everyone appreciates the value of good data. Not surprisingly, both the firefighters who provide the data and those who use it have many suggestions for improvements.
NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research Division, in cooperation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) convened an interdisciplinary workshop on Today and Tomorrow’s Fire Data on March 26th and 27th. Firefighters, fire data users, codes and standards participants, representatives from federal agencies including USFA’s Fire Data Center, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, NIST, wildland fire agencies and from fire service and kindred organizations learned about the various approaches and projects underway to help ensure the best data possible. At the end of the workshop, the four highest priorities were to:
- Improve the quality of fire data input;
- Address reasons for under-reporting of fires and undetermined fire causes;
- Identify and link all relevant existing data systems and
- Develop a strategy for long-term maintenance and future updates for NFIRS.
Read the full report at Today and Tomorrow’s Fire Data. What do you see as the greatest issues in fire data today?