I was fortunate enough recently to be able to spend the day with members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to learn about the department’s amazing Risk-Based Inspection System, or RBIS. The trip was to do reporting for the feature, "In Pursuit of Smart," which you can read in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.
The backbone of the system is a computer algorithm called FireCast, which is able to analyze three years worth of building data using as many as 7,500 different fire risk factors. After complex calculation, FireCast produces a fire risk score for each of the 330,000 buildings in the city that FDNY firefighters are responsible for inspecting. Firefighters use the RBIS information to schedule their inspections so that they get into the riskiest buildings first, which they hope will help them prevent more fires and enable them to be more familiar with critical building systems if a fire were to occur. It’s a great example of how fire departments today are using smart tools and new technologies to make their communities safer.
I recently sat down with Kyle MacNaught, online editor for NFPA Journal, to discuss RBIS, how it works, what it aims to do, and how an everyday firefighter in New York uses and interacts with the system.
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