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NFIRS Documentation

This documentation assists users in reporting National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) 5.0 data and serves as a reference for vendors and third-party custom integrators developing software to meet the NFIRS 5.0 specification.

NFIRS Version 5.0 Complete Reference Guide

The Complete Reference Guide provides step-by-step instructions for submitting fire incident information to NFIRS 5.0. Previous versions of this guide are out of date and should not be used.

Design documentation

NFIRS Version 5.0 Design Documentation

Specification Release 2015.1 provides guidance to software vendors, as well as local and state fire agencies on the specifications necessary to develop NFIRS 5.0.

There are no changes to the NFIRS 5.0 specification for the January 2023 release cycle. Specification Release 2015.1 (January 2015) is the current design specification.
Vendors: Specification enforcement began with the October 2020 release of the U.S. Fire Administration's eNFIRS applications. Learn how to comply

Specification changes and corrections 1998-2015

This document contains a log of all changes to the NFIRS specification dating back to 1998.

Design documentation spreadsheet tables January 2013

These tables contain excerpts from the NFIRS 5.0 design documentation tables in Excel spreadsheet format to help with new software development. Included in this download are the data dictionary (codes and descriptors), chemicals table, wildland federal agency codes, edit requirements, relational edits, security levels, incident flat file transfer format, and incident module rules.

Sample paper forms for NFIRS 5.0 modules Revision 01/01/07

This file includes the following forms: Basic, Supplemental, Fire, Structure Fire, Civilian Fire Casualty, Fire Service Casualty, Emergency Medical Services, Hazardous Materials, Wildland Fire, Apparatus or Resources, Personnel, Arson, and Juvenile Firesetter. These forms may be used as a basis for state or local forms.

Structure Fire Cause Matrix

The Structure Fire Cause Matrix helps NFIRS users assign fire incidents to the correct structure fire cause categories. It includes the three-level structure fire cause hierarchy and definitions for mid-level cause groupings.

Structure Fire Cause Matrix (2008 version)

An updated version of the 2003 cause hierarchy for structure fires. The revised schema provides three levels of cause descriptions: a set of more detailed causes (priority cause description), a set of mid-level causes (cause description), and a set of high-level causes (general cause description).

Structure Fire Cause Matrix (2003 version)

This matrix was replaced with Structure Fire Cause Matrix (above) in 2008.

More information on the Structure Fire Cause Matrix can be found in the publication National Fire Incident Reporting System Version 5.0 Fire Data Analysis Guidelines and Issues PDF.

Entity Relationship Diagram

The Entity Relationship Diagram helps third party integrators to develop a local database in accordance with the NFIRS 5.0 specification and users to run queries against a copy of their NFIRS local database.

NFIRS 5.0 Entity Relationship Diagram

Follow these steps to review the tables, entities and attribute relationships that constitute the NFIRS 5.0 national and local database structure.

  1. Download the file named and save it to the hard drive (desktop or other location).
  2. Unzip the file specifying: Use Folder Names.
  3. To view the ERD, locate and open the folder named NFIRS_ERD.
  4. Locate and open the file named NFIRS_ERD_2005.html.
  5. Use the navigation bar at the top of NFIRS_ERD_2005.html to navigate to information by section.