1. #1
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    Default NFIRS Comments Sought by U S F A

    Here is a chance for you NFIRS people to comment directly to the USFA on the system:

    SUMMARY: The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on a proposed revised information collection. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice seeks comments concerning the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
    For the full publication from the Federal Register, go here:
    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/nfirs/nfirs_011906.shtm

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    out of curiosity what is everyone elses thoughts about using this reporting system?

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    No comment!
    Visit www.iacoj.com
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    Takes more time, but we're hoping it gives someone some useful statistics. We do it simply because NJ requires it and now so does FEMA (if you manage to be awarded a grant).
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I would not say I'm an advocate of NFIRS but I really don't mind entering the data. I just hope that all of the data collected is actually usefull to the fire service instead of politicians.

    PKFPD
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    Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

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    1) Can we point out that comments under the Paperwork Reduction act (that this is being done under) have to be submitted on paper?

    2) NFIRS is a classic example of the worse of creation-by-committee.

    It is too detailed in all the different things that could be entered, which opens up legitimate differences in opinion and belief how different events should be coded. Or even when it's "clear" in the directions, what is the NFIRS manual size -- 500 odd pages? Never mind any programming guides and other notes.

    And at the end of the day, all it produces is a lot of data that one has to interpret with a pretty poor confidence level on any of the specifics.

    Dump NFIRS. Replace it with an annual census of fire departments that asks for summary response information, with clear simple directions. Maybe a 1 page form with 10 pages or so of directions.

    Yes, less information...but with a high degree of confidence that it is accurate in summation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    1) Can we point out that comments under the Paperwork Reduction act (that this is being done under) have to be submitted on paper?

    2) NFIRS is a classic example of the worse of creation-by-committee.

    It is too detailed in all the different things that could be entered, which opens up legitimate differences in opinion and belief how different events should be coded. Or even when it's "clear" in the directions, what is the NFIRS manual size -- 500 odd pages? Never mind any programming guides and other notes.

    And at the end of the day, all it produces is a lot of data that one has to interpret with a pretty poor confidence level on any of the specifics.

    Dump NFIRS. Replace it with an annual census of fire departments that asks for summary response information, with clear simple directions. Maybe a 1 page form with 10 pages or so of directions.

    Yes, less information...but with a high degree of confidence that it is accurate in summation.
    You can't dump NFIRS. There are ways to make it better and more relevant, but there is no current alternative to it.

    The fire service is screaming all the time "we want federal money, blah, blah, blah". "The cops get all the money, blah, blah, blah". How many of you realize that, outside of NFIRS, there is no reliable data on which to base a clear understanding of just what the real fire picture is in this country? If there is no reliable data set to show how bad the fire problem is, how do you fight for more money? Short answer is, you can't.

    The National Fire Data Center is mandated by law. It isn't going away. NFIRS is the vehicle they have developed to gather their data. They are giving an opportunity for the fire service to tell them what is wrong with it. Instead of saying "NFIRS sucks. Get rid of it". How about intelligent comment regarding how to make it better and more efficient?

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    Replace it with an annual census of fire departments that asks for summary response information

    I guess that was my attempt at an intelligent way to make it better and more efficient.

    NFIRS is the vehicle they have developed to gather their data.

    They is "us" -- the data points gathered in NFIRS is from an NFPA standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    Replace it with an annual census of fire departments that asks for summary response information

    I guess that was my attempt at an intelligent way to make it better and more efficient.

    NFIRS is the vehicle they have developed to gather their data.

    They is "us" -- the data points gathered in NFIRS is from an NFPA standard.
    A "summary" response is not practical. Just by it's name it decreases the importance and inspires an under reporting of information. In addition, those data points, regardless of where they come from, are highly specific and each has a (not always so obvious) purpose.

    In addition, in theory, the NFIRS is cmopleted right after each run. By asking for a summary, you once again revert to system where there a million different ways to collect information and the picture turns back into complete mud.

    What has to be done is to increase the training opportunities for persons completing the reports so that the data going in is put in with care and a full understanding of the end use.

    BTW< changing the NFPA standard at this point will have little large scale effect on NFIRS.

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    We enter our NFIRS within the first week of the month, for the preceeding month. Not daily, not after every incident.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    But the report is completed right after the run, isn't it? It may not be entered into the system, but the report should be completed right after while you still have the info fresh.

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    Thumbs up NFIRS is a useful tool

    I find the data that NFIRS captures is a extremely useful tool for the fire service and the public safety. We use a third party RMS software that captures even more data then what NFIRS captures. If you know how to extract the data and use it the data can make your department safer, more efficient, help stream line your training, project growth of the city, plan for more personnel, plane for more apparatus, and prepaid the budget. That is just a few things. I have been doing our NFIRS reporting for three years. One thing I see in the fire service is that most firefighters are not familiar enough with what data is captured in NFIRS and why! The Big one is that most firefighters in the administrative positions donít know how to use the data. The majority of the fire serve (at least in my area) just thinks NFIRS is a complex coding system the government uses to keep track of you. You can extract the data and arrange it to justify just about anything when you present a future change to the city council.

    If anyone in the fire service doesnít think NFIRS is a useful tool then need to educate their selves in data management and the use of the data and just what data analysis can do for their department!
    DixieFire53, Deputy Fire Chief FF/EMT-P, Local 272

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    Looks like I'm in the minority here. I have absolutely no problem with NFIRS. Fortunately, I wasn't responsible for NFIRS reports in the days of the paper forms. We currently use Firehouse Software for most department record-keeping and it's NFIRS module is not rocket science. It doesn't take very long to enter reports for the average run.

    Until a couple of years ago, we filled out a department report and an NFIRS report seperately. Only one guy was in charge of NFIRS reporting, so the coding was the same. However, it proved too much for him and we often got behind in our reporting. Now that the NFRIS report is our department report, the process is pretty smooth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DixieFire53
    If anyone in the fire service doesnít think NFIRS is a useful tool then need to educate their selves in data management and the use of the data and just what data analysis can do for their department!
    and yet somehow, I manage to do that without the complicated, overly detailed, criptic coding of NFIRS. My run reports are filled out in a matter of 2 minutes at most. Another minute to enter the data into our own software program, and we're done. And even better, our software gives us the information WE need. But hey, if it works for you and your happy, more power to you.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    Or even when it's "clear" in the directions, what is the NFIRS manual size -- 500 odd pages? Never mind any programming guides and other notes.
    The quick reference guide is only 170+ pages!

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    Our primarily volunteer company manages to enter every run into NFIRS with little problem at the time of the run. Most every member is capable of More serious fires, injuries, haz mats get some extra attention. I believe whole heartedly in National Reporting, I think GW is right on with how the cops get the money. If you had a FIRE of any sort, report it, don't rationalize or take the easy way out. Fill out the forms to the best of your ability.

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    Call me a Commie, but I REFUSED to do the paper forms. The first one I did after becoming chief, I was SO proud of it, sent it in and it was promptly returned to me with a note that it was wrong and to re-submit it. They never told what was WRONG! So, as a protest, I never did another paper form. I told my department that when they came out with an easy form, I'd do it.
    Now, I have no problem with them on the computer. Zip it off when it's done.
    I like that. I like the information management aspects and the data is important for future modelling.
    And believe me, I don't know how many times Kay sent them back because they were wrong. But she also taught classes on NFIRS reporting and she was a great help. When you have someone like her helping the system along, you don't feel the least bit bad about doing them.
    CR
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