This NFIRSGram explains the importance of correctly coding the Incident Type field in NFIRS. This field is the foundation for completing your incident report and providing an accurate picture of the types of incidents your fire department responds to.
You responded to an incident. Now that you have returned to the station, your thoughts turn toward filling out the incident report. It all starts with understanding the Incident Type.
The Incident Type is the actual situation found upon arrival to the scene. (See NFIRS 5.0 Complete Reference Guide PDF 5.2 MB for more information on the Incident Type field).
What was found upon arrival to the scene is often quite different from the reason for dispatch. For this reason, it is important to keep this difference in mind when considering what code to use for Incident Type. The Incident Type sets the stage for not only how the incident is managed on-scene, but also how the incident report is completed and what pieces of information might be required.
The Remarks field is an extension of the incident, so include what actions your department performed on the incident and the effect they had on incident stabilization. This is also the area to record other specific details important to the incident that are not recorded in other fields of the report.
Incident Type defines what was found at the incident scene upon arrival of the fire department.
Incident Types are categorized by series (100, 200, 300, etc.), that broadly define the incidents within that category. For example, the 100 series incidents are fires, such as “111” for a building fire.
Although this might sound straightforward, Incident Type determination is a common question. Here are some scenarios to consider:
Use the lowest code series for determining the Incident Type when more than one Incident Type is found. (See Scenario 2 above.)
The Incident Type not only determines what information you need to collect and enter into your incident report, but over time (e.g., weeks, months, years), it can show you what types of incidents your department (and resources) respond to. This information is a critical component in data-driven decision-making and will enable a better understanding of your department’s overall operation.
The Incident Type data supports the "fighting fires with facts" concept by providing an accurate picture of the types of incidents responded to in your area. Manpower, equipment, apparatus and training programs (to name only a few) can then be specifically geared toward your department's needs.