6 Key Data Points Every Fire Department Should Analyze

  • Posted on July 11, 2019

Data in the fire industry has been a forefront topic in recent years, and for good reason. Tracking and analyzing data, statistics, and trends can be an extremely powerful tool for fire departments, helping them operate more efficiently, improve outcomes in their communities, and increase their odds of receiving useful grants.

Whether you are looking to improve procedures and quality assurance, keep your team compliant and up-to-date on training, or simply be able to pull historic data for budget decisions or grant applications, reliable data is key. The good news is that today’s fire software is actually more powerful than ever, making it easier to pull the data you need when you need it.

The Value of Accurate Fire Department Data

Measurable, reportable outcomes are key players in keeping communities safe and running a successful, efficient fire department. You simply cannot draw useful conclusions without a reliable collection of information to give you an accurate picture of what’s really going on in your stations and in your communities.

While there are many important data points that should be tracked in a fire department, there are a few key metrics every station should be analyzing frequently and confirming for accuracy, since they can be utilized in many different ways. We’ve gathered our top 6 here, which include:

  1. Number and Types of Incidents
    Having the ability to quickly review your call volume and types of incidents provides insight into what is truly going on in your community. This view allows you to recognize trends and other clear indicators that help you take action based on measurable information.
  2. Times
    In a line of work where seconds can make a difference in loss of life or property, there are few things as important as how quickly your team can respond. One of the best ways to identify how well your crews are performing is by looking at the times measured in NFIRS. By tracking at a wide range of times for your teams – such as response times, travel times, turn out times, etc. – you can then compare to national averages for comparable departments and communities, and set your own benchmarks and goals. It may become quickly apparent where there are gaps.
  3. Injuries and Deaths
    Sadly, the number of firefighter injuries and fatalities is a very real and impactful data point for fire stations across the nation. Analysis of this information can help identify specific problems that can direct efforts toward finding solutions and reducing these numbers in the future, and can also help measure the effectiveness of firefighter health and safety programs.Additionally, tracking the number of civilian injuries and deaths in your community can clearly illustrate the difference your team is making. These trends can also help identify areas of your community that pose increased risks or that could benefit from a Community Risk Reduction (CRR) plan.
  4. Number of Personnel Responding to Alarms
    Just like any business, fire agencies are under pressure to make the most of their resources, both in material and manpower. Tracking the number of personnel responding to alarms, and being able to crosscheck this number with types of incidents and outcomes, offers a gut-check on people being in the right place at the right time. Numbers talk, especially when it comes to financial decisions. Being able to present a logical case, supported by accurate, historic data, can go a long way in ensuring your agency has what it needs to succeed.
  5. Property Values
    Truly understanding your community can improve your response times and your preparedness. Identifying trends in property value and potential for loss can help you create optimized response plans and predict any challenges you may face. Additionally, understanding the property values in specific parts of your community, and cross-referencing them with types of incidents, can help you identify and plan CRR efforts.
  6. Property Losses
    By reviewing data on property losses within your community, you can more easily identify what is working and what needs improvement. Property loss is also a helpful talking point when addressing civilians, the media, and government agencies. It easily illustrates the success your agency is having, or the need for additional budget and workforce to improve results. Next to loss of life and injuries, property loss is perhaps the most impactful data point to those wanting to understand how a fire agency is protecting and helping the community.

Staying Compliant and Obtaining Grants

While these 6 practical data points help in the everyday function of your fire agency, your data plays an additional role in keeping your stations compliant and receiving plenty of funding. Many fire agencies depend on grants to fund various portions of their operation and these 6 critical data points are required for most fire department grant applications. In fact, many grant applications require three- to five-years’ worth of data to apply, so if these data points are not something you collect and track today, it would be in your best interest to start immediately.

EMS Needs Numbers, Too

Of course, fire-based EMS agencies face similar reporting requirements and requests in their daily operations. All EMS agencies collect incident and patient data to stay compliant, ensure protocols are followed, and report into state and federal agencies, as well as industry organizations. While many of these data points may be the same as the bigger fire department at large, there are more specific fields that can help give insight into the team’s medical response elements. For more information on these, download the white paper, 5 Key Reports for EMS Leaders.

How ESO Can Help

While tracking data may seem overwhelming and out of your comfort zone, using the right software can make entering, extracting, and analyzing information a quick and easy task, even for a beginner. ESO Fire Incidents delivers one-click access to all of these 6 critical data points through its built-in ESO Analytics module. Using these two tools together truly puts the power of data at your fingertips.

Learn more about the suite of ESO fire-specific software tools, including ESO Fire Incidents, that can help you accurately document and report key information to improve your operations, community and emergency responder safety, and grant success rates.

By harnessing the power of data in your fire department, you can make real strides in creating a more efficient and successful agency that can not only identify areas for growth but easily recognize and share successes.