About the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)

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The Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-498) authorizes the National Fire Data Center in the United States Fire Administration (USFA) to gather and analyze information on the magnitude of the Nation's fire problem, as well as its detailed characteristics and trends. The Act further authorizes the USFA to develop uniform data reporting methods, and to encourage and assist state agencies in developing and reporting data. In order to carry out the intentions of the Act, the National Fire Data Center has established the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

The NFIRS has two objectives: to help State and local governments develop fire reporting and analysis capability for their own use, and to obtain data that can be used to more accurately assess and subsequently combat the fire problem at a national level. To meet these objectives, the USFA has developed a standard NFIRS package that includes incident and casualty forms, a coding structure for data processing purposes, manuals, computer software and procedures, documentation and a National Fire Academy training course for utilizing the system.

The NFIRS reporting format is consistent with the National Fire Protection Association Standard 901, "Uniform Coding for Fire Protection" 2001 version. The current version of NFIRS, version 5.0, was released in January 1999. NFIRS 5.0 expands the collection of data beyond fires to include the full range of fire department activity on a national scale. It is a true all-incident reporting system.

Within the NFIRS states, participating local fire departments fill out Incident, Casualty and optional reports for fires and other incident types as they occur. They forward the completed incidents via paper forms or computer files to their state office where the data are validated and consolidated into a single computerized database. Feedback reports are generated and forwarded to the participating fire departments. Periodically, the aggregated statewide data is sent to the National Fire Data Center at the USFA to be released and included in the National Database. This database is used to answer questions about the nature and causes of injuries, deaths, and property loss resulting from fires. The information is disseminated through a variety of means to states and other organizations. The National Fire Incident Reporting System is a model of successful Federal, State and local partnership. The database constitutes the world's largest, national, annual collection of incident information.

The success of NFIRS is due in part to the unique cooperative effort between USFA and the National Fire Information Council (NFIC). NFIC plays a vital role in the USFA's efforts to achieve an accurate nationwide analysis of the fire problem through support to NFIRS and its participating member states and metropolitan fire departments. NFIC's unique partnership of Federal, state and local participants has proven to be one of the most successful, productive and cost-beneficial programs ever attempted on a national level.

Facts About NFIRS

Report: The Many Uses of NFIRS

This report is an attempt to capture the many ways that NFIRS data are used and the many types of organizations that benefit from its availability. Because access to NFIRS is so widespread it is impossible to report every use of the data. Instead, this report will give readers a sense of the many uses and users of the information available in NFIRS.