In January 2011, a National Fire Service Data Summit, funded by DHS/AFG, brought together a broad cross-section of fire industry leadership, including local decision makers. The Summit's goal was to identify, define, and standardize data collected on community risks and the deployment of fire department resources. A secondary goal was to improve the quality and consistency of data used to document resource allocation and related fire service decisions. A final goal was to develop recommendations for data collection processes, including a list of data elements that could easily be collected and analyzed by local fire departments to measure a department's availability, capability, and operational effectiveness.
Based on the Summit results, the IAFF, IAFC, NIST, CFAI and the original architect of NEMSIS have joined forces to lead in the development of the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS). This national collaboration is led by the project partners with input from a Stakeholder Group comprised of over 25 lead fire industry governmental and professional organizations.
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The National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS pronounced "In Force") project is funded through an Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program's (AFG), Fire Prevention and Safety Grant (FP&S). During the initial 4 years of the project, the NFORS team developed many assets, including a comprehensive data dictionary, laying the path toward a new National Fire Data System. The goal of the NFORS is to improve firefighter and civilian safety through consistent and quality data. Local FDs using the NFORS Modules can assess the impact of their response availability, capability, and operational effectiveness on the "outcome" of a fire or other emergency. An optimal "outcome" minimizes the occurrence of firefighter injury and death, civilian injury and death, and property loss.
NFORS is designed with a focus toward these objectives:
The NFORS project continues to be developed in parallel and is linked to the Fire Community Assessment Response Evaluation System (FireCARES) Project. The NFORS modules and reports are being designed to be user friendly, encourage accurate and timely data entry, and allow data exchange with systems like FireCARES. In fact, the first NFORS module being field tested is in conjunction with the FireCARES project.
Field testing for the first NFORS module began in September 2016. The first module is known as NFORS-CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch). This module is implemented via a fire department’s CAD or RMS (Records management System) for automatic extraction of operational data for ALL TYPE responses. The NFORS-CAD may require programming modification to a local CAD to assure that the appropriate operational data elements are captured. As operational data flow from a local fire department CAD system into the NFORS-CAD Library, they are available for use in local department reporting and will also appear in the fire department’s FireCARES page.
Additional modules will begin field testing soon including the NFORS Firefighter Exposure Module that links to the NFORS-CAD Module creating a response diary for individual firefighters. This NFORS Firefighter Exposure Module is being used by AFG funded grant projects for firefighter cancer surveillance.
Fire departments need a flexible data system that will easily allow them to collect their own information yet still participate as part of the national data system for fire reporting. New technology will make the system easier to use and less expensive for local fire departments and states to operate.
NFORS accounts for the full range of fire department activities. As NFORS modules are implemented, customized NFORS Reports can be generated on demand, in real-time, promoting operational best practices and benchmarking performance over a span of time. Aggregate de-identified reports will be accessible by governmental and professional organizations at the state and national levels to assist in research and support the fire industry.
NFORS reports will also be of great value in monitoring and evaluating the impact of federally funded grants and other initiatives at the local level. Additionally, NFORS will include data that will highlight product safety concerns and indicate trends in the incidence of fire so that resources can be focused on prevention.
In August 2016, the NFPA received an AFG/FP&S grant to develop an overall National Fire Data System that is to include substantial use of the information developed in the NFORS project to date and will incorporate additional NFORS data assets going forward.
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