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Coffee Break Bulletin

When Should You Update Your NFIRS Reports?

Posted: Aug. 29, 2017

This Coffee Break Bulletin discusses common reasons for updating National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) reports and the importance of doing so.

One of the more important issues for records keeping in the NFIRS is the need to update information on your incident reports. Things change, investigations result in new information, and other information from the report may be crucial to a court case.

For these reasons, you must always work to update NFIRS reports on your system.

Data collection and reporting begins with the initial report of an incident at the communications center. The data gathered is then incorporated with a complete, timely and accurate incident report that is completed by the Company Officer (CO) or Incident Commander as soon as possible following the conclusion of the incident. The report is submitted to the state for import into the NFIRS. When additional information about the incident becomes available, the report must be amended and resubmitted to the NFIRS.

There are many reasons for updating an incident report, including:

  • The cause of the fire is updated.
  • Delayed interviews with injured victims are completed.
  • A change in the estimated dollar loss is known.
  • Follow-up information about incident casualties becomes available.
  • Law enforcement has additional information if a crime is involved with the incident.
  • Supplemental information becomes available from emergency management authorities.

As a CO or fire investigator, you should pull initial fire reports from your system and update them whenever new information is found or determined. Do you have a policy or procedure for this? Who is assigned this duty? Check with your NFIRS program manager to ensure you are following the procedure and know who is responsible at your level!

Action step to become a data champion!

To learn more about how you can use data to support your organization, consider enrolling in one of these National Fire Academy training courses.

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