This NFIRSGram explains when to create an exposure report to accurately document a fire incident with exposures in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
Important points for documenting exposures
- An exposure is a fire resulting from another fire outside that building, structure or vehicle, or a fire that extends to an outside property from a building, structure or vehicle.
- Although the Incident Number permits all properties involved in a fire incident to be related together, the Exposure Number identifies each separate property type involved in the fire. This makes it possible to capture the specific details of the fire in each exposure and to relate all the exposures to the basic incident.
- In a fire involving exposures, an additional incident report should be completed for each exposure.
- Each module completed for an exposure should contain the same Incident Number assigned to the original property involved. A separate sequential exposure number is assigned to each exposure. The original incident is always coded with an Exposure Number “000.” Exposure incidents associated with this original incident are then numbered sequentially and incremented by 1, beginning with “001.”
- The Incident Date for each exposure remains the same as that of the basic incident; however, the Alarm Time in Block E1 should reflect the time of each new exposure.
- Treat similar items in a group as a single exposure (such as a fleet of cars).
Reporting exposure fires is troublesome for many fire departments. During fire suppression activities, an exposure is any property that is threatened by the initial property fire, but in the NFIRS a reportable exposure is any fire that is caused by another fire. Because of these different definitions, a common reporting error is including an exposure report for an incident where a neighboring property is scorched or the siding is melted, but the property has sustained no fire damage.
When completing an NFIRS report, an exposure is only reported if the initial fire causes another property to catch fire. Reporting melted siding, scorched exterior walls, and water or smoke damage to neighboring properties should not be completed with an exposure report but should instead be documented in the Remarks field (Section L of the Basic Module) of the initial fire report (e.g., the dollar loss for the non-exposure properties).
Definition of “exposure”
An “exposure” is a fire resulting from another fire outside that building, structure or vehicle, or a fire that extends to an outside property from a building, structure or vehicle. In the case of buildings with internal fire separations, treat the fire spread from one separation to another as an exposure.
In cases where there are multiple ownerships within a building, such as condominiums, apartments and hotel rooms, and these properties are not separated by fire-rated compartments, then each condominium, apartment or unit is not a separate exposure. For instance, where you have a fleet of vehicles, such as at a state highway department motor pool, you can count all these items as a single exposure.
When documenting a fire that involves exposures:
- Complete a separate incident report using the appropriate modules for each exposure.
- Enter the Incident Number of the initial fire as the Incident Number in Section A of the Basic Module – Key Information.
- Enter the Exposure Number, assigning each exposure a separate Exposure Number. For the initial fire, the Exposure Number is 000, with each exposure then numbered sequentially beginning with 001, 002 and so on.
- Enter the Incident Date of the initial incident; however, in Section E of the Basic Module, the Alarm Date/Time, Arrival Date/Time and Last Unit Cleared Date/Time should reflect the date and time of each exposure.
- When a fire involves more than 1 building, each building fire should be considered a separate fire, with the ignition for all but the original building fire classified as an exposure.
- Classify the Heat Source (Section D2 of the Fire Module) of the exposure report using 1 of the heat source codes from the 80 series (heat spread from another fire).
Heat spread from another fire (excludes operating equipment)
|Heat source code||Description|
|Heat from direct flame, convection currents spreading from another fire.|
|Radiated heat from another fire. Excludes heat from exhaust systems of fuel-fired, fuel-powered equipment (12).|
|Flying brand, ember, spark. Excludes embers, sparks from a chimney igniting the roof of the same structure (43).|
|Conducted heat from another fire.|
|Heat spread from another fire, other.|
- On the Fire Module of the exposure report for the Cause of Ignition field (Section E1), check the box for an exposure report, and for Factors Contributing to Ignition (Section E2), select code 71 – Exposure Fire.
- Skip forward to the Fire Suppression Factor fields (Section G) and complete the rest of the Fire Module and other modules as appropriate for the report.
Sample coding scenarios for exposure
A fire department is dispatched to a reported building fire. Upon arrival, they discover that a detached garage is on fire and that 2 vehicles parked in the driveway are also on fire. The fire department determines that the fire started in the garage and that the 2 vehicles, both of which are owned by the homeowner, caught fire due to their proximity to the garage.
The fire department:
- Creates an initial fire report, incident number 1306001 with an exposure number of 000.
- Creates an exposure report for each vehicle using the same incident number (1306001). The exposure numbers for the vehicle fires would be 001 and 002.
A fire department is dispatched to a reported building fire. Upon arrival, they discover a single-story, single-family home on fire, with a neighboring family's home already showing signs of heat damage as the vinyl siding is beginning to melt. The fire department protects the neighboring home, and the only damage that it suffers is the melted siding on the side that faced the fire building.
The fire department:
- Creates an incident report for the initial fire, incident number 1306001 with an exposure number of 000.
- Includes the damage to the neighboring house in the Remarks field (Section L of the Basic Module) of the initial report, since the neighboring house did not catch fire.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.