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PSCR Success Story – The Fire Data Lab

“As the volume of available data swells and analysis methods grow ever more sophisticated, a growing number of public safety agencies are turning to data analytics to drive strategic decision-making processes. Paradoxically, the vast majority of fire departments in the U.S. cannot access the data and analytics technologies required to address tremendous challenges affecting their work every day.

Text that reads: "The fire service has become not only the service of last resort, but the service of first resort as well."

explained David Van Ballegooijen, the Project Coordinator of the Fire Data Lab project.

Firefighters who are trained and equipped to handle exigent physical threats to public safety are now on the front lines of homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness, providing social service functions to vulnerable community members. The typical 911 emergency care system and referral processes are myopic in nature and cannot meet the long-term needs of systemic public health crises; consequently, these community members are frequently the subjects of repeat 911 calls. 

At the crux of this challenge is the lack of data needed to measure the outcomes of emergency response approaches and inform integrated response frameworks that are broader than police, EMS, and fire alone. This is the story of how the Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA) and the NIST Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) embarked on the mission to bring the data analytics capabilities of the fire service into the twenty-first century.”

Read the full article HERE

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