Skip to main content

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock () or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Using NFIRS to Document Smoke Scares in Other Jurisdictions

Posted: Sept. 25, 2023

1 min read
  • Find similar NFIRSGrams:
  • Coding
  • Share on:

This NFIRSGram explains how to accurately document in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) a response to a smoke scare where there is confirmed fire in a different jurisdiction.

In the summer of 2023, wildfires in Canada produced large amounts of smoke that eventually impacted the air quality in the United States. Concerned citizens reported smoke and/or odors of fire, although these fires posed no direct danger to them or their community.

In this case, the fire department who responded to the call should use Incident Type Code 641 – Vicinity alarm (incident in other location) in their NFIRS report. This is the appropriate code to use when:

  • there is a confirmed fire emergency outside of the fire department’s jurisdiction, and
  • the person calling for assistance is unsure if the smoke is related to a concern inside the fire department’s jurisdiction.

Incident Type Code 651 – Smoke scare, odor of smoke, not steam is appropriate when:

  • a fire department responds to a call for an emergency within the fire department’s jurisdiction, and
  • there is no fire found upon arrival at the incident address, and
  • the smoke scare or odor of smoke is not connected to any actual emergency.

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