NFIRSGram: What to Do When the DEBI Does Not Save the Incident Data

This NFIRSGram explains how to resolve issues related to saving incident data with the Data Entry Browser Interface (DEBI).

Some users of the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) Data Entry Browser Interface (DEBI) have reported that, when they enter incident data into the first page of the Basic Module, they can enter all of the information, go on to another page and key in that information, yet when they save the incident, a critical error message occurs that data is missing. Upon reviewing the incident, they find that the entire first page of the Basic Module is blank and none of their data was saved.

Other users have reported that they can enter the incident data, but the Aid Given/Received field turns red, regardless of the value selected. Moving to the next tab results in the loss of the data entered on the first page.

When you enter data into the DEBI and click on “Next Tab” (or click on the next tab), you need to verify that you receive a blue message at the top of the screen indicating that the incident saved successfully, as shown in the image below.

Entering data into NFIRS

If you do not see this blue text message, the data you entered was not saved. This will occur if you start an incident and one of the fields, such as a date field or the Aid Given/Received field, is red. If you find a red field before entering data, some type of connection problem is occurring. You may have a bad connection to the NFIRS server.

Tip: Use the save function often

To avoid a situation where you are unaware of a bad session and data is not saved, use the save function often, as described here.

Click “Save,” close the incident, then search for and open it to review the data in the fields. You may discover that the Incident Date has changed from the date you entered to another date. If this has occurred:

  1. Open the incident and go to the Key Information section.
  2. Edit the Incident Date, then click “Save.”
  3. Fill in the rest of the incident.
  4. Save the incident.
  5. Check to confirm that the incident was successfully saved.

One way that you can limit your loss of data from a bad or interrupted session when using the DEBI is by clicking “Save” after you complete every section of the first tab of the Basic Module.

  1. Enter the address information and click “Save.”
  2. Then enter the Incident Type code and click “Save.”
  3. Then enter the Aid Given information and click “Save,” until you get through the first tab/page of the Basic Module.

If you see the blue “Incident saved at …” message provided above, then you know that your data was properly saved.

If you see any other message, then you can suspect that your data entries are not being saved. You should click “Save,” close the incident and reopen the incident.

As a last resort, you may find that you have to save the incident, log out of the DEBI, and completely close your browser. You may also want to clear your browser’ cache before you reconnect to the DEBI. Once you reconnect, you can then search for the incident and re-enter your incident data.

Users have reported that clicking “Save” between each section has dramatically decreased the multiple entries they have had to perform when using the DEBI.

Need more help entering and saving incident data using DEBI? 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.