NFIRS public data release
Each year the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) compiles publicly-released National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) incidents, collected by states during the previous calendar year, into a public data release (PDR) that is available free of charge.
NFIRS PDR files from 1980 to 2022 are available for download on OpenFEMA or upon request on CD or DVD from the National Fire Data Center. Data available includes:
- 1980‑1998 – Fire incidents (NFIRS version 4.1)
- 1999‑2003 – All incidents
- 2004‑2022 – Fire and hazardous materials incidents
- 2014‑2022 – All incidents
Public data release on OpenFEMA
Public data release on CD or DVD
To order the PDR on CD or DVD for a specific year(s), please contact Greg Adams.
About the PDR
- The PDR is a relational database of 20 tables tied together by a 2-, 5- or 6-variable key. Tables are zipped and in text CSV format for data after 2012 and dBASE format for prior years.
- Reference documentation, including “NFIRS 5.0 Fire Data Analysis Guidelines and Issues” and “NFIRS Complete Reference Guide,” is included.
- Spreadsheet software from productivity suites is generally not suitable for working with or analyzing the raw data.
- A database management system and expertise in SQL and/or other database programming language is necessary.
- This database is for researchers and fire data analysts. You should have considerable experience with fire data analysis and NFIRS data to properly use the PDR. Using raw NFIRS data as a count of fires and associated deaths, injuries and dollar loss is NOT a proper use of the PDR.
NFIRS Data Disclaimer:
The data presented in the PDR reflect only a snapshot in time. The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) is not a repository of all incidents that occur in the United States. The NFIRS is a voluntary system, and it includes only those incidents reported to the system by fire departments that participate. Data available may vary, depending on the frequency of incident reporting and by the frequency of data imported to the NFIRS by the fire department or state. Not all states participate in the NFIRS each year, and all fire departments that report to the NFIRS within a state do not necessarily report all of their incidents. In addition, some fire departments that report fire incidents do not report all information within a report, including associated casualties or estimated dollar losses. States and/or fire departments that report in one particular year may not report to the NFIRS the following year. Therefore, the NFIRS is not a census of all incidents or casualties. As a result, reported NFIRS data should not be used to represent total counts of incidents and associated losses (i.e., casualties and dollar loss) at the national or state levels.
Data analysis tools
Guidelines to use when analyzing NFIRS 5.0 data
National Fire Incident Reporting System Version 5.0 Fire Data Analysis Guidelines and Issues PDF discusses analytic considerations and methods of analyzing fire incident data using NFIRS Version 5.0. The topics include the NFIRS 5.0 data structure, general quality assurance issues, and definitions and parameters of common fire analyses (e.g., residential structure fires or fires by a specific cause).
Techniques for turning data into useful information
Collecting data is a legal requirement for documenting incidents; however, incident reports provide a more beneficial service to fire departments by providing insight into the nature of fires and injuries.
The Fire Data Analysis Handbook PDF describes statistical techniques to turn data into information that fire departments can use to gain insights into fire problems, improve resource allocation for preventing fires and identify training needs. The techniques range from simple to complex. Described are how to:
- Develop charts to provide more effective presentations about fire problems.
- Compute simple statistics, such as means, medians and modes.
- Create tables and calculate different percentages from tables.
- Perform correlation, regression, loglinear analysis and queueing theory.
These are all techniques which can tell fire departments more about the nature of fires and injuries.
Information for analyzing NFIRS 4.1 historical data
The files below contain instructional information useful in the analysis of NFIRS 4.1 historical data. The USFA stopped accepting NFIRS 4.1 data on Jan. 1, 2010.