Data Analysis Tools

Fire Data Analysis Handbook

This handbook's primary objective is to describe statistical techniques for analyzing data typically collected in fire departments. Motivation for the handbook comes from the belief that fire departments collect an immense amount of data, but do very little with it. A compelling reason for collecting data is a legal requirement for documenting incidents; however, incident reports provide a more beneficial service to fire departments by providing insight into the nature of fires and injuries.

The Fire Data Analysis Handbook describes statistical techniques to turn data into information that fire departments can use to gain insights into fire problems, improve resource allocation for combatting fires, and identify training needs. The techniques range from simple to complex. Described are how to develop charts to provide more effective presentations about fire problems; compute simple statistics, such as means, medians, and modes; create tables and calculate different percentages from tables; and perform correlation, regression, loglinear analysis, and queueing theory. These are all techniques which can tell fire departments more about the nature of fires and injuries.

One way to become more comfortable with analysis is to work with real data. For this handbook, data were obtained from fire departments in several metropolitan areas. This handbook will help fire departments deal with the volume of data collected on fire incidents. By studying the techniques presented, department personnel should be able to improve skills in collecting data, analyzing data, and presenting results.

NFIRS 5.0 Fire Cause Category Matrix

The USFA fire cause methodology consists of using a set of hierarchical sorting rules based primarily on the Ignition Cause and Factors, Equipment Involved in Ignition, and Heat Source (plus Exposure Number) to create a hierarchical sorting of all fires into 38 priority (hierarchical) cause codes, plus a residual unknown-cause code. These priority cause codes are then regrouped into 16 major cause categories plus a residual unknown-cause group. This framework has proved enormously useful to analysts over the years and is continued under NFIRS version 5.0. Read More about the USFA Structure Fire Cause Methodology

NFIRS 4.1 Incident Codes

The files below contain instructional information to be used in the preparation and use of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), Version IV.1 forms. A series of basic phrases with code numbers are used to describe incidents in this system. These descriptive phrases were developed and made available by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the NFPA 901, Uniform Coding for Fire Protection, 1976. Appropriate codes are included below for the NFIRS-1, NFIRS-2 and NFIRS-3 forms.

NFIRS 4.1 File Layout

This Adobe PDF file documents the record formats for the files used in version 4.1 of the NFIRS System. All version 4.1 files documented are sequential files. Two files are used primarily by the version 4.1 system and are called the Master and Report Files. The 4.1 version of the record formats have been superceded by more recent NFIRS version 5.0 formats but remain useful in analysis of NFIRS 4.1 historical data.