Burning down The House: Using Big Data to Help the Fire Service
Local government decision makers often alter fire department resources faster than fire service leaders can evaluate the potential impact. These decisions can leave a community without sufficient resources to respond to emergency calls safely, efficiently, and effectively. The Fire Community Assessment/Response Evaluation System (FireCARES) enables fire departments to add a technical basis to what has historically been an anecdotal discussion regarding community hazards and risks as well as the impact of changes on fire department resource levels. FireCARES provides three scores for each community based on the available data: the Community Risk Score (fire and EMS), the Fire Department Performance Score, and the Safe Grade. These scores are generated from exploiting an expansive, multilayered data set combining fire incidents, outcomes, and community risk characteristics. Fire and EMS incident data are not without flaws, as they primarily rely on firefighters for data entry. Additionally, there is a two-year data lag on the national level. To overcome this obstacle, we have built the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS), a real-time data analysis tool that leverages modern data practices while removing firefighters from data entry. This presentation highlights both projects and provides a live demonstration of each.