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Determining Property Use at the Incident Location

Posted: Dec. 17, 2020

Updated: Sept. 25, 2023

3 min read
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This NFIRSGram explains the importance of accurately classifying your incident location in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) using the Mixed Use Property and Property Use fields.

Each individual property has a specific use, whether it is a structure or open land. Property Use (Section J on the Basic Module) refers to the actual use of the property where the incident occurred. The intent of this data element is to specify the property use, not the configuration of the building or other details of the property.

Accurate classification on the frequency, losses and types of fires for each property use is important because it helps communities to:

  • Plan to protect their communities and citizens.
  • Analyze various fire problems that occur across a wide range of property types.
  • Target fire prevention programs and fire protection or suppression systems.
  • Order priorities for inspection, develop new building codes and evaluate the success of programs directed at particular types of properties.

Important points

  • If the property is a structure that is under construction, select the use for which it will be used. This is not applicable to construction site incidents (Property Use code 981). If the structure is vacant or being demolished, select its last significant use.
  • For property that is mobile, in transit or stationary, the Property Use code is determined based on the property it is located on at the time of the incident.
  • Use Property Use code 419 for mobile homes used primarily as fixed residences; Incident Type code 121 (Section C on the Basic Module) should be used to indicate that this was a fire in a mobile home used as a fixed residence.
  • If the property changes codes throughout the day, week, month, or year, use the Property Use code of what the property is used for most of the time or what it was built for. For example, if there is an EMS call at a one-day carnival in the parking lot of a retail store, the appropriate code to use would still be 965 – Vehicle parking area.

Mixed Use Property Field versus Property Use Field

When a property has two or more uses, complete the Mixed Use Property Field (Section I on the Basic Module) to capture the overall use of the property. The Mixed Use Property code helps to better identify the overall or main use of the property and may be different than the Property Use code selected.

When determining the Property Use in a mixed property scenario, you should always select the main Property Use where the incident is occurring.


A fire occurs in a hair salon that is also in the basement of a single-family home.

Are there two uses for this property?

Yes. Mixed Use code 58 – Business and residential properties containing a mixture of commercial activity with residential uses. Property Use code 419 – 1 or 2-family dwelling.

Where did the incident occur?

In the hair salon. Area of Fire Origin (Section D1 on the Fire Module) code 28 – Personal service area (includes barber/beauty salon area).

An EMS call that occurs in a restaurant in an office building.

Are there two uses for this property?

Yes. Mixed Use code 59 – Office use.

Where did the incident occur?

In a restaurant. Property Use code 161 – Restaurant or cafeteria.

An incident that occurs in a clothing store at an enclosed mall.

Are there two uses for this property?

Yes. Mixed Use code 53 – Enclosed mall.

Where did the incident occur?

In a retail clothing store. Property Use code 529 – Textile, wearing apparel sales.

Food pantry.

Property Use code 150 – Public or government, other.

Escape room.

Property Use code 110 – Fixed-use recreation places, other.

Parking lot of a grocery store.

Property Use code 965 – Vehicle parking area.

Townhouse (if more than two units).

Property Use code 429 – Multifamily dwelling.

Home used as a short-term rental or vacation home.

Property Use Code 419 – 1 or 2 family dwelling, or 429 – Multifamily dwelling (if it is a property with more than two residential units).

Remember: Complete the Incident Remarks field (Section L of the Basic Module) to accurately describe the property and area where the incident occurred. To learn more about completing the Incident Remarks field, see this NFIRSGram: Report Remarks—Telling the Story (

For more information

Appendix B of the NFIRS 5.0 Complete Reference Guide PDF 5.2 MB contains a list of common Property Use codes sorted alphabetically.


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