The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) only includes incidents that fire departments respond to. Because of this, some fire deaths are not reported by local fire departments. These incidents usually involve patients with burns who arrived directly at a hospital. A 2009 report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission PDF 426 KB indicated that only 59 percent of fire injuries treated at a hospital occurred in fires with a fire department response.
Both of these examples are fire deaths according to NFIRS, but there was no fire department response to the original incidents. If there is no fire department response, the fire department should not create an NFIRS report for the incident.
When state agencies become aware of these fire casualties, they should count them if the injury occurred in their state. However, states should not ask the local fire department to create an NFIRS incident report.
The appropriate way to handle the incident is to recommend that the fire department send an investigator to the scene and document the incident. The investigator should use established investigative procedures, which usually includes photographs and a narrative description. This investigative report should satisfy most state reporting requirements. Likewise, a fire department may complete a state-produced form documenting the fire death.