Funding for Near-Miss Reporting System Set to Expire

The IAFC was notified on Tuesday that the federal funding received by the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System it oversees will not be renewed.

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The program, which allows firefighters to submit confidential reports of close calls to be shared as a training tool, is set to come to an end as soon as Sept. 28 when the AFG funding expires, according to a news release.

The decision to cut off the funding was made following a recent peer-review process. Earlier this summer, the program celebrated the posting of the 5,000th report to the system.

"Losing the ability to collect safety data on this scale is hard to believe, but what's particularly devastating is the loss of the ability for fire departments to pull the analyzed data back out and put it to use in their communities," Near-Miss Advisory Committee member Matt Tobia said in a statement.

The system has become a resource for fire departments, national data collection and fire sciences class curriculum since its inception.

IAFC officials say they are currently working to find a way to save the program.

"When the IAFC started this program, we were creating something completely unique that took on firefighter line-of-duty deaths head-on and at their root," IAFC President Hank Clemmensen said. "At the time, we didn't know if it would work, but we took the risk because we believed that chiefs and front-line responders, working collectively, could make a difference.

"It's unfathomable that now that we have proven results, the peer reviewers didn't believe in it."

IAFC CEO and Executive Director Mark Light said the organization is working understand what areas the reviewers perceived as deficient and what can be done to submit a stronger proposal for funding in the future.

Based on a similar program for the aviation industry, the Near-Miss Reporting System soon outpaced its counterpart and quickly became a model for other industries.

In 2009, it was recognized nationally with the Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award, presented by the Congressional Fire Service Institute.