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NFIRS: More than Just a Necessary Evil

Stewart Smith | Dec 7, 2012

Have you ever thought...NFIRS doesn’t benefit my department; it is just a necessary evil?

As a retired firefighter with over twenty year’s experience, the least favorite part of the job was doing reports. There are reports for everything, NFIRS, patient care reports, staffing reports, training reports, inspections and so on. But as my career focused more on fire administration and the budgeting process for my department, I began to see the value I can get from not only our internal data, but the national NFIRS data as a benchmark.

Regardless if you are a large metropolitan department or a small farming ESD department, using national data can help your department justify the need for a better budget by comparing your data to similar departments.

We all know that the economy is taking a toll on public services and it always seems the local fire department is the first area to get less. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to present a report proving that if your department has the necessary resources to respond to emergencies effectively and efficiently, you would save the taxpayers overall and improve the outcome of their emergency?

So the next time you respond to an emergency and you have the “wishful feeling that you had better resources”, consider that necessary evil of data collection and reporting. It could be your ticket to a budget increase.

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