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National Fire Data System

As NFPA seeks to provide greater resources to those who rely on us for critical information and knowledge to eliminate loss from fire and other hazards, we are working to further harness the power of data for our stakeholders, including the U.S. fire service.

About the project

The National Fire Data System will support local, evidence-based, decision making on operational performance, community risk reduction, firefighter safety, health, and wellness, and other fire service activities. The project is developing the groundwork for a flexible and scalable system to collect data from fire departments. We will develop, build, and test the foundation of a system-agnostic infrastructure that will take in, process, store, and share data from the records management systems that local fire departments choose to use. 

Frequently asked questions

What are fire service activity data?
Fire service activity data are any type of data that fire department or other fire service agencies collect in order to document or manage any of their various activities.  Local fire service agencies currently collect and manage a tremendous amount of data. Traditionally, fire departments have only shared data related to emergency responses (fires, emergency medical responses, hazardous materials incidents, etc.) externally even though these often only account for a portion of a fire department’s activities.

What types of data is this system intended to collect?

The National Fire Data System is being designed to be flexible enough to eventually handle any of the various types of data that fire departments currently collect or might collect in the future. The initial stages of this project is focused on the collection and analysis of activities related to incident responses, emergency scene operations, and health and wellness exposures. Long-term, the project will look to extend to collecting data on other common activities such as fire prevention and community risk reduction, training, and investigations.

Is this system intended to replace the records management system software my department currently uses to record incident reports and other records?
No, the National Fire Data System is intended to be a “back-end” data infrastructure that will accept data from your current system(s) so your agency is not required to change your records management system in order to participate.  

Why is this project important to the fire service?
The landscape of the fire service is changing. Most fire departments, like other first responder agencies, are facing ever-increasing service demands as well as increased calls for fiscal responsibility and organizational accountability.   These increased demands are stretching available resources, calling into question current deployment strategies while increasingly requiring fire departments to justify their existing and requested resources. The National Fire Data System project is intended to help local fire departments better use data and information to safely, effectively, and efficiently respond their communities’ needs.

How is this project funded?
The National Fire Data System project is funded by a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Fire Prevention and Safety award as well as internal funding from NFPA. 

Fire service engagement

Collaboration between fire service experts and leaders, industry and NFPA are critical for success of the project. Your voice is important, please email us to share your knowledge and suggestions. 

Executive Advisory Board

Executive Advisory Board members are representatives of the fire service, who provide high-level, strategic input on the project’s goals and system development.

  • Chief Allan Cain, Cary Fire Department – representing CPSE
  • Dr. Dov Chelst, Center for Public Safety Management – representing ICMA
  • Chief Mike Duyck, Tualatin Valley Fire Rescue – representing Metro Fire Chiefs
  • Chief Steven Locke, Burlington Fire Department – representing IAFC
  • Chief Joe Maruca, West Barnstable Fire Department – representing NVFC
  • Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, International Association of Fire Fighters – representing IAFF
  • Chief Brad Pabody, National Fire Data Center – ex officio representative of USFA
  • State Fire Marshal Bruce West, Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office – representing NASFM
Technical Working Group

Technical Working Group members are fire service data experts within their respective organizations, who will help us address specific technical and system challenges.

  • Chief (ret.) Ed Plaugher, NFPA 950 Technical Committee Chair
  • Deputy Chief (ret.) Kevin Lundy, Gulfport Fire Department
  • Captain Chris Lombard, Seattle Fire Department
  • Sara Wood, State NFIRS Coordinator, Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office
  • Kristin Chaffee, Strategic Program Manager, Tualatin Valley Fire Rescue
  • Battalion Chief Erich Roden, Milwaukee Fire Department
  • Battalion Chief Amy Valdez, Virginia Beach Fire Department
  • Assistant Chief Scott Bliss, Central Arizona Fire & Medical District
Project archive
  • A request for proposals (PDF) closed in early June to procure the professional services of an established firm with successful experience designing and implementing comprehensive big data solutions for public safety data. 
Related materials

There is no one fire data problem. There isn’t one fire data solution either. Tackling the fire data problem requires ongoing, collaborative, efforts on multiple fronts to address the many challenges that exist.