How many times have you been asked by citizens or residents about what you do as a firefighter? At some point, we talk about the apparatus checks, the training, and the emergency calls. We can typically recite the number of fire and if applicable, the EMS calls we responded to last year. Some agencies have extensive data collection and analysis systems in place to produce statistics on top of statistics, while others still submit paper NFIRs forms. Data collection and analysis has become a response to deeper questioning and justification, but what can we learn from this environment? If we are playing catch up, we aren't seeing the bigger picture and the advantages of data analysis. If we want to understand the influences on our agencies, we have to understand the variables which impact us.
How effective is your data collection system or records management system? Do you receive the data you need to analyze the variables? What do you want to see in the standardization of data development and exchange?