FEMA plans new fire tracking system armed with machine learning and biometrics

San Miguel Fire Depot. Sep 2020 Sandy Huffaker AFP

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Another challenge is that only fire departments can access the NFIRS, blocking out other safety researchers from crucial data, said Michael Brooks, chief counsel for the Center for Auto Safety.

By Rebecca Heilweil
June 14, 2023

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has good reason to track fires across the country. Fires kill thousands of people and damage hundreds of thousands of homes across the US each year. Amid the battle against climate change, collecting data about these catastrophic disasters is more important than ever.

But there’s a problem. The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) — the government program used to track fires throughout the United States— is outdated. The tool, which originally relied on paper-based reports, was created by FEMA in the 1970s. The last time a new form of data was incorporated into the system was in 1995 when the Fire Administration started tracking Emergency Medical Services, or EMS, incidents. The system had its last technology update back in 2002.

Click here to view the full story from Fedscoop.