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When Is an Incident Not an Incident?

Posted: Dec. 17, 2020

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The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) is an all incident reporting system, meaning that you can utilize NFIRS to report all emergencies to which your department responds. However, some fire department activities should not be reported to NFIRS. This NFIRSGram helps fire departments to determine which activities are not reported to NFIRS.

Important points

  • Utilize NFIRS to report your emergency responses.
  • Do not use NFIRS to report parades, code inspections and training events.
  • Do report smoke detector installations and community paramedicine visits.

After a fire department responds to an emergency incident, department personnel complete an NFIRS report documenting what they found in the course of their activities. Fire departments use the NFIRS report to document their response to an emergency, whether or not the fire department finds an emergency upon arrival.

While NFIRS does capture some nonemergency incidents, such as service calls, you should not use the NFIRS report to document scheduled events such as parades, code inspections or department training. Documenting activities of that nature is accomplished by other means, especially if participation in those activities counts toward some type of length of service award program for the members of the fire department.

Examples of activities to report and not to report

Emergency calls


  • All fires
  • Vehicle accidents
  • EMS and rescue incidents
  • Hazardous materials incidents
  • Severe weather emergencies
  • Overpressure ruptures / Explosions
  • False alarms / False calls

Nonemergency calls


  • Service calls
  • Good intent calls
  • Smoke detector installations
  • Community paramedicine

Do not report

  • Parades
  • Training
  • Fire prevention events
  • Stand by at sporting events
  • Code inspections

For more information about NFIRS, 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