This week, NFPA's Vice President of Research Kathleen Almand delivered a keynote address to the 11th biennial Conference on Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods, hosted in Warsaw by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).
The conference has become a global destination for people working in fire safety engineering, regulations development and enforcement, testing, standards of development and engineering design methods.
Almand's presentation entitled "Using Data to Enhance Fire and Life Safety Inspection and Enforcement Programs," focused on how the use of data analytics can aid the fire service in community risk reduction. As she explained, fire departments draw data from various sources to improve the efficiency of their inspection and enforcement efforts. More and more, this data is being collected and analyzed to better understand the patterns behind fire mitigation. She related the outcomes of a recent workshop attended by 16 different U.S. fire departments and service providers who use data analytics to gather, share and evaluate information on electronic tools and strategies.
Almand told the group that the Fire Protection Research Foundation is sponsoring an NFPA initiative to discover and share the best practices for collecting data for use by code enforcement agencies. This project aims to show the benefits of applying data to inspection and enforcement programs and increase awareness of data sets, tools and best practices already in place in the inspection and enforcement fields. In addition, the Foundation hopes to identify existing gaps in data sets, find opportunities for standardization of data gathering tools and application strategies, and provide guidance and input for NFPA Technical Committees.
During her keynote, Almand also explained that as an independent, neutral non-governmental organization, NFPA is well-positioned to coordinate the next generation of data that will allow our stakeholders to apply relevant and timely information for better decision-making. NFPA has created a Data Analytics Sandbox where the fire service, municipalities and others can combine their big and small data with other data in an innovative, secure test-bed. The data is then analyzed and utilized to fulfill fire protection, life safety, community engagement and business operations objectives.