Six Fire Departments Onboarded onto the New National Emergency Response Information System
 
WASHINGTON — The U.S Fire Administration (USFA) announced the launch of the prototype version of the new, interoperable fire information and analytics platform, known as the National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS), for the American fire and emergency services. The goal of NERIS is to empower the local fire and emergency services community by equipping them with near real-time information and analytic tools that support data informed decision-making for enhanced preparedness and response to emergency incidents involving fires, motor vehicle crashes, medical emergencies, hazardous materials spills and other occurrences.

Six local fire departments have successfully onboarded onto NERIS and started reporting local emergency incident information through the new system. “The launch of the prototype NERIS and successful onboarding and use by these initial six fire departments represents a major step forward for USFA to fulfill our mission to equip the local fire and emergency services community with a modernized and easy-to-use solution to report critical incident information and provide them access to actionable intelligence,” said Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, U.S. Fire Administrator.

The first fire departments onboarded onto the prototype version of NERIS include:

·        Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Virginia

·        Frisco Fire Department, Texas

·        Orange County Fire Authority, California

·        Springdale Fire Department, Arkansas

·        Upper Merion Township Fire & EMS Department, Pennsylvania

·        West Metro Fire Rescue, Colorado

USFA is working with these six fire departments to test and evaluate the prototype version of NERIS and to inform future development in preparation to release the full production version in the fall of 2024. “Our use of the prototype NERIS in this test phase has been a resounding success, and we’re eager to increase use across Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. As with any new technology roll-out, expanding the use of NERIS across all 39 fire stations within our department requires implementation planning, which we’re getting started with now,” said Chief John Butler, Fire Chief of Fairfax County and President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “Being an early adopter of NERIS not only benefits our department but also contributes to advancing the use of the latest technology and analytics available to the fire service nationwide.”

These first six fire departments are actively using NERIS to capture the most critical information following response to structure fires, hazardous materials events, emergency medical incidents, among other types of incidents. The prototype NERIS also provides basic, actionable analytic information back to the local fire departments.

NERIS is built using the latest geographic information system (GIS) technology, interoperable data standards and advanced analytic capabilities, thereby providing location-enabled decision support capabilities to local fire departments nationwide. As NERIS continues to be developed, data from multiple federal data sets, local computer-aided dispatch (CAD), local records management systems (RMS) and other authoritative sources to inform community risks including vulnerable populations, climate hazards such as flood and drought-prone areas and wildland urban interface exposed areas.

The new NERIS platform will replace the legacy data system known as the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). The legacy NFIRS will remain operational throughout the transition process, so all fire and emergency services departments should continue to use the current NFIRS data system and maintain status quo until onboarded onto the new platform. NERIS will fulfill the USFA’s National Fire Data Center’s obligation under the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-498) to mitigate the fire problem, reduce loss of life and property, and educate the public on fire prevention and protection, as well as effects of all hazards.

NERIS is provided to local fire departments at no cost. Development is being carried out as a partnership between USFA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and is supported by a contract awarded to the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI). FSRI is a part of UL Research Institutes, the nonprofit safety science organization within the UL enterprise.

For the latest information on NERIS development, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/nfirs/neris.