Like everyone else in this information age, fire officials and researchers are awash with data and wondering how best use it all. For instance, there is a lot of information out there about fire loss, but how does a fire department go about gathering and analyzing it—and what’s the best way to use it?
Attendees pondered those questions and more at a recent NFPA-sponsored workshop attended by Kathleen Almand, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Almand reports back from the workshop in her new “Research” column in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal.
“We heard from federal, state, and local fire agencies about how they use [fire loss] data to make decisions about resource allocation, program priorities, and more. We also heard from insurers and public health researchers about other data sets they might use to inform the problem,” Almand writes. “Then we rolled up our sleeves to address some important questions”
The fire data experts discussed a wide range of ideas, including how they could work together to make data collection and analysis more effective; the role of technology; and how to improve data quality through better systems and training.