NFIRSGram: Dates and Times

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This NFIRSGram helps you to complete fields related to dates and times and understand how accurately reporting this information helps fire department performance.

Each fire department is responsible for planning and managing its operations so that firefighters can perform their roles of fire control and fire prevention more effectively and efficiently. The availability of accurate information about when fires and other incidents occur is vital in achieving maximum performance. Patterns that emerge from the analysis of incident data can help departments focus on current problems, predict future problems in their communities, and measure their programs’ performance.

The collection of dates and times in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) provides the fire department with the data needed to determine when incident types occur in your district, such as the time of day or day of week. This information also allows determination of how long it takes the fire department to arrive on the scene of the incident, sometimes known as travel time, and how long the fire department operates on each different type of incident.

Field E1 on the Basic Module.

Field E1 on the Basic Module.

Important points about dates and times

Date and time fields explained

Alarm Date and Time
This is the actual month, day, year and time of day when the alarm was received by the fire department.

The Alarm Date and Time is not the time that the Public Service Communications Center received a call from the public, but the time that the Communications Center dispatched or alerted the fire department units that they had an incident to which they should respond. The Alarm Date will always be the same date as the Incident Date entered in Section A — Key Information.

Alarm Date and Time is important for three reasons:

  1. As a legal requirement for recording the precise time a notification was made of the incident.
  2. As information for determining the frequency of particular types of incidents by time period.
  3. As the starting time to determine the length of time taken to arrive at an incident and the total amount of time spent on the incident scene.
Alarm Date completed for an incident.

Alarm Date completed for an incident when the fire department was dispatched for a call at 1:25 p.m.

Arrival Date and Time
This is the actual month, day, year and time of day when the first responding unit arrived at the incident scene.

The Arrival Date and Time fields reflect the time spent traveling to the scene of the incident. This information can be useful to fire department management in determining the actual time spent at an incident and any delay between alarm and arrival.

If the Arrival Date is the same as the Alarm Date, the report writer can check the box, “Date Same as Alarm.”

Arrival Date completed for an incident.

Arrival Date completed for an incident where the fire department arrived on the scene at 1:29 p.m.

Controlled Date and Time
This is the actual month, day, year and time of day when the fire was brought under control, or the incident was stabilized and did not require additional emergency resources.

“Controlled” is the time when the Incident Commander determined that the fire would not escape from its containment perimeter. This field is required for wildland fires — Incident Type 142.

The time spent stabilizing a fire provides fire department management with the information needed to analyze the duration patterns of different types of fires. This can assist in determining service demands and costs for resource allocation.

If the Controlled Date is the same as the Alarm Date, the report writer can check the box, “Date Same as Alarm.”

 
Last Unit Cleared Date and Time
This is the actual month, day, year and time of day when the last unit cleared the incident scene.

These fields do not reflect an “in service” time, nor do they include the time spent transporting a patient to a hospital facility or transit back to the station.

If the Last Unit Cleared Date is the same as the Alarm Date, the report writer can check the box, “Date Same as Alarm.”

Last Unit Cleared Date and Time entered.

Last Unit Cleared Date and Time entered where the last fire department unit to leave the scene of an incident departed at 2:15 p.m.

Dates and times for incidents where the fire department was cancelled
(while still in route to the incident address)

Alarm/Last Unit Cleared Date and Time entry.

Alarm/Last Unit Cleared Date and Time entry for an incident where the fire department was dispatched at 12:25 p.m. and was cancelled at 12:28 p.m., prior to arriving on the scene.

When a fire department is dispatched on an incident, but is cancelled prior to arriving on the scene, the incident should be coded with Incident Type Code 611 — Cancelled en route, and the Alarm Date and Time should be entered, as well as the Last Unit Cleared Date and Time. An Arrival Date and Time is not required since no units from the department arrived on the scene of the reported incident.

Dates and times on the Apparatus/Personnel Module

The date and time fields on the Apparatus Module.

The date and time fields on the Apparatus Module.

The Apparatus and Personnel Module offers departments the opportunity to track the response time of individual units. This is especially helpful when your department may (as a matter of policy) dispatch multiple units based upon the incident type being reported by the public, but upon arrival, find that all of the units are not needed, and the first arriving unit cancels the remaining units.

The times entered on this module should be unit specific. If a unit is dispatched on an incident, and another unit cancels them prior to their arrival, they would only need to enter the Dispatch Date and Time and the Clear Date and Time on the Apparatus Module. They would then need to enter the Actions Taken Code 93 — Cancelled en route, in order to denote that this unit was cancelled prior to arriving on the scene. This is especially important if the unit is cancelled by the Communications Center prior to any unit arriving on the scene.

Need more help documenting dates and times? Please contact the NFIRS Support Center: Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET, at 888-382-3827 or by email at fema-nfirshelp@fema.dhs.gov.