At the end of July, NFPA’s Senior Statistician Mike Karter will be retiring from NFPA and heading up to Maine after four decades with NFPA. Mike created, oversaw and analyzed results from NFPA’s fire department experience survey to provide estimates of number of fires and other incidents handles by local fire departments, as well as civilian fire deaths and injuries, and firefighter injuries from all types of incidents. Every year, the results are published in Fire Loss in the United States. His first survey was for calendar year 1977. The trend tables based on these annual reports have helped us measure the progress we are making. These results are also used with the USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) to provide national estimates of specific fire problems.
Mike’s reports on firefighter injuries and fire department profiles for the US and Canada and his report on US Fires by Region have helped local fire departments compare themselves with other departments and to identify what types of injuries were most common. In collaboration with John Hall, the recently retired Director of NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research Division, Mike crunched the numbers for the national and state reports of the three Needs Assessments of the US fire service. These assessments, published in 2004, 2007 and 2011, provided details on resource and training needs.
Mike demonstrated a clear commitment to best statistical practices while making necessary adjustments to a world with declining survey response rates. He provided advice on statistical methodology to others in the division. In anticipation of his departure, he’s left lots of detailed notes. Over the years, we've also enjoyed many conversations about sports, politics and movies.
His contributions will last even longer than his tenure. We want to say “Thank you” for all his accomplishments and his dedication and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.