Got ITM Data? We need your help!

Blog Post created by vhutchison Employee on Jan 14, 2020


Calling all fire protection professionals! Are you an expert in inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) of fire protection equipment? Do you manage ITM data activities and reports at a facility? Are you an inspection or contracting company that conducts inspections and testing of fire protection equipment? Are you an AHJ that manages the inspection data of the properties in your jurisdiction? Do you provide software or platforms to inspection companies or AHJ’s to capture ITM data? If so, we are looking for participants like you to help inform an ITM data model that accurately reflects the activities of the fire protection community!


As background, many NFPA codes and standards establish minimum frequencies for periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) for fire protection systems, however, these frequencies are often historical requirements that are often not based on empirical ITM data or observed deficiencies. In recent years there has been growing interest in risk/occupancy-based and performance-based ITM frequencies; however, to be effective there is a need for a more data-based approach to ITM frequencies. While the use of digital ITM data collection software are evolving, there remains great variation in the format that ITM data is collected, stored, and analyzed. Due to the inconsistency in ITM data collection methodologies, it is difficult to implement data-informed decision-making regarding system reliability, ITM frequencies, and risk acceptability. 


The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) has previously lead projects and workshops on ITM Data Collection and Analytics that have concluded that additional work needs to be done in order to evaluate and correlate fire protection equipment reliability with code requirements. Some of the identified gaps are the lack of standardization of ITM data format, collection, and submission processes, among others. Despite the widespread appreciation of the importance of ITM data, there is currently no universally adopted data model, or standardized data format, that all stakeholders utilize to share and compare data. This lack of standardization not only limits the ability to determine sound performance-based inspection frequencies, but it also limits the abilities of all stakeholder groups to exchange and analyze data to inform decisions for their own local needs.


In response to this need, the Fire Protection Research Foundation has initiated a research project titled the "ITM Data Exchange Model" with the goal of developing and pilot testing a comprehensive, scalable, and extensible ITM data exchange model to facilitate ITM data sharing from diverse data sources. The success of this project depends heavily on understanding the wide variety of data formats and nomenclatures that are currently used to document ITM activities for fire protection systems.  For that reason, the Foundation is seeking samples of ITM data from all sources, including (but not limited to) vendors of any size, contracting/inspection firms, software vendors, custom platforms or forms, etc.  The ITM data samples will help inform the data model.  


We are now ready to start collecting samples of ITM Data! 


Please read below for more information on how you, or other representatives, can contribute. 

What we want:

  • A representative sample of ITM activity data (i.e. raw data, formatted reports) for inspection and testing activities for one or all the following systems: 
    • Sprinkler systems (wet, dry, pre-action, deluge, antifreeze), 
    • Fire pumps (diesel or electric), 
    • Fire alarm systems
  • The samples of ITM data should clearly identify all data elements collected and their respective format for each ITM activity for the specific system types identified above.
  • To the extent possible, please ensure that any data you intend to share has been stripped of any personally identifiable information (e.g. name of inspector, name of inspection company, name of building owner, etc.), prior to contributing the data. 


Note: While large quantities of data are helpful, we are more focused on collecting quality samples of data rather than large quantities at this time. The goal, at this stage, is to capture and understand the diversity of the data by obtaining different types of inspections reports (i.e. fire pump, fire alarm, etc.) from different sources to see the variation in terminology, format, data elements, etc. 


Why do we need samples of ITM data? 

  • To understand the variety of data and formats collected, we need to look at the actual data itself. 
  • Once the model is developed, we intend to use actual samples of ITM data to test and confirm the model's ability to analyze diverse data formats.


Desired Format:

  • Electronic data (xls, csv, json, or similar file types)
  • The model cannot accept:
    • Paper reports
    • Scanned PDF reports
    • PDF Reports created from digital forms
  • Note: While paper and scanned PDF reports will not be able to be directly imported into the model, they can be used to inform the model development, and thus are still encouraged.

If you would like to contribute data for this project:

  1. Contact Victoria Hutchison, Research Project Manager at the Fire Protection Research Foundation        at vhutchison@nfpa.org indicating you have ITM data you would like to share;
  2. A data contribution agreement and a link to confidentially upload your data will be sent to you. 


Note: Any data collected will not be shared; it will only be used to inform the development of the data model.


Any contribution would be immensely valuable for this research project, whether it be completed inspection/testing reports of fire protection equipment or blank inspection forms/templates.


Additional information on this project can be found here