How Firefighting Operations Can Use Data

Today Big Data seems to be in the middle of everything, a phenomenon that’s sweeping across the social and economic landscape. Medicine, transportation, government services, it seems like everyone is using Big Data to their advantage, and the fire service is no exception. How can Big Data be used as a tool? And how can operations utilize this without adding to their risk profile? 

Data Sharing 

The information that you do have (fire incident and emergency response history) is tremendously valuable, but it’s not enough. Building and construction permitting, zoning information, financial information of building owners, neighborhood demographics, criminal and complaint activity: these could all be just as valuable. Fortunately, there are others who already have the information. 

Firefighting operations can share the data it has to retrieve data it needs in return. Many agencies lack the on-field specifies that fire departments have, which makes you a valuable partner for them. Simply establish and maintaining a regular means of communication between agencies. For example, a weekly email of new building permit information, or a quarterly update of changes in property ownership information. The point is that communication and data sharing are ongoing, current, and accurate. 

Agencies you might share with include : 

  • Building construction and use regulators
  • Land use and zoning regulators 
  • Property ownership and taxes regulators 
  • Non-emergency complaints regulators 

Forecasting Fire

Through data analysis, it’s possible to calculate the relative likelihood that a building will have a fire incident by looking to see what is correlated with the incidence of fire. What actions are significant in predicting a fire incident? Does a history of building code violations make a fire incident more likely? What’s the history of noise or rodent complaints? Listen to what data tells you to find unexpected, but useful, connections. The result of all the analysis is that every building in an area can be assigned a level of fire risk. Predictions can forecast workload. This can prove issues in resource allocation for a department and used for projected staffing demands. 

Fire forecast information could also prove beneficial to field units. Situational awareness is a critical concern to responders in the field, and workload and fire forecasting can be a tremendous asset. By being aware of what to expect, and where to expect it, firefighters will be better prepared for whatever awaits.

Response Times

Response times are always the principle metric at fire department staff meetings, budget hearings, and community meetings. This means analyses on these metrics can determine your resource allocation and optimization. This is sometimes the only metric used to develop resource optimization recommendations.

With this admission from fire department planners and realization by the academic community, there are currently several academic projects underway attempting to determine predictive algorithms to quantify the effectiveness of both initial and complete response times. With Big Data at our fingertips, you can help bring clarity to the response time issue. Since the fire service future will be data-driven, a cyber liability program is a smart implementation for your department so you can make use of data without bringing on additional risks of data breaches or cyber-attacks. Need more information? Give us a call today.

About Provident FirePlus

At Provident FirePlus, we offer custom-tailored packages to best protect firefighters and volunteer firefighters. We understand the risks that emergency response teams are subjected to on a daily basis, and have worked to serve these dedicated professionals for over 87 years. For more information about our products and policies, we invite you to contact our experts today at (855) 201-8880.