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F.A.Q. and How-To

Information on this page is geared to help foster the understanding of the importance of LFIRS reporting and offers guidance on how to report effectively and efficiently as well as explaining how the reporting process works.

Questions

  1. Why would my department want to participate in LFIRS/NFIRS reporting?
  2. How can my department participate in the LFIRS/NFIRS program?
  3. Where can I go to get training on NFIRS?
  4. How often should my department report our incidents?
  5. What Incident Types should we report?
  6. What should my department do when we have a month go by and we’ve had no responses to report?
  7. How do I determine my department's FDID?
  8. What are the NFIRS reporting software options?
  9. How does the importing process and incident error notification work?

Answers

Q: 1. Why would my department want to participate in LFIRS/NFIRS reporting?

A: Increasingly, grant programs available to fire departments are requiring that the department be participating in NFIRS (LFIRS) to be eligible. Participation in incident reporting also provides your department with opportunity to gain bonus points applied to your PIAL rating. In addition, the incident data your department provides is utilized in the development of needed fire prevention and life safety legislation.

And, probably most importantly, your department needs to market its significance and get credit for all that it does in your community. Historically, the fire service is its own worst enemy. The need to better document what it does and the lack of marketing its importance has caused those inside and outside of the fire service to not understand its full role and value. As a result, the fire service battles to justify its budgets, resources, and worth.

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Q: 2. How can my department participate in the LFIRS/NFIRS program?

A: The collection of statewide data requires a uniform system of data collection allowing some flexibility to encourage accurate and timely participation.

Basic guidelines:

  • Fire department must have a valid FDID (Fire Department Identification number)
  • Incident data is to be submitted electronically, in NFIRS compliant format.
  • Fire departments are to submit their data monthly, by the last day of the month proceeding the reporting period (i.e. January reports submitted by end of February).
  • Email incident data files to LFIRS.reporting@dps.la.gov. (If you are using the Federal Client Tool online, your incidents are automatically recorded in the State/National database.)

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Q: 3. Where can I go to get training on NFIRS?

A: A basic NFIRS training course is offered through the National Fire Academy Online. The course number is NFIRS (Q0494).

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Q: 4. How often should my department report our incidents?

A: Fire departments are to submit their data monthly, by the last day of the month proceeding the reporting period (i.e. January reports submitted by end of February).

Should your department experience a complete month in which your department has no responses to report, a "No Activity" report must be recorded for that month. This action will reflect consistency and compliance by your department with respect to your NFIRS reporting. Please refer to question 6 or contact the LFIRS program manager for assistance.

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Q: 5. What Incident Types should we report?

A: NFIRS is the local, state, and national fire reporting system. NFIRS is all incident reporting. To show and tell the full value of the fire service, all alarms or public service calls should be documented in NFIRS. The incidents have full value to all once they are complete and in the national database.

Most departments only report their fire calls. However, national statistics show that only about 10% of all calls to which a fire department reponds are fire-related. This percentage is consistent with Louisiana statistics.

Should your department experience a complete month in which your department has no responses to report, a "No Activity" report must be recorded for that month. This action will reflect consistency and compliance by your department with respect to your NFIRS reporting. Please refer to question 6 or contact the LFIRS program manager for assistance.

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Q: 6. What should my department do when we have a month go by and we’ve had no responses to report?

A: Should your department experience a complete month in which your department has no responses to report, a "No Activity" report must be recorded for that month. This action will reflect consistency and compliance by your department with respect to your NFIRS reporting.

If you are using the NFIRS Federal Client Tool, this is a very simple procedure.

  1. Log in to the Federal Client Tool program.
  2. Click on “New” as though you are going to enter a new incident.
  3. Complete the Section A-Key Information window as follows:
    • Incident Date: the last calendar date for the month in which you have no responses to report
    • Incident Number: 0 (zero)
    • Exposure: 0 (zero)
    • Check the “No Activity” box at the end of second line
    • Click “OK”
  4. Click “Save” and then “Close”

If you are using third-party-vendor software, you must submit an email notice to the LFIRS.reporting@dps.la.gov email box indicating the month in which this situation occurs, so the report can be recorded on your behalf. YOUR FDID MUST BE INCLUDED WITH THIS REQUEST.

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Q: 7. How do I determine my department's FDID?

A: The FDID (Fire Department Identification number) is a 5-digit number that is issued by the LFIRS State Program Manager.

Every fire department within the state of Louisiana that is recognized by their local governing body (city/parish) should have a FDID. In addition to incident reporting, this number may also be requested by training facilities for tracking, financial reimbursement purposes, and grant request submittals.

Please refer to the Fire Department Directory for a listing of active FDID's in the state of Louisiana

http://sfm.dps.louisiana.gov/sfm_directory.htm

To obtain a FDID.

  • Procure documentation from your local governing body (city or parish) which shows your department to be recognized as a viable fire department/district within that city/parish. Documentation must be on local governing body letterhead.
  • Complete the FDID Application Form.
  • Forward these documents to the State Fire Marshal's Office: Louisiana State Fire Marshal
    8181 Independence Blvd.
    Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    ATTN: LFIRS-FDID Application

FDID Application Form

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Q: 8. What are the NFIRS reporting software options?

A: There are a variety of fire department management-type software programs available that include NFIRS reporting capabilities.

pdf List of Approved Vendors

Be advised that from time to time the USFA does update the NFIRS system. The information on updates is provided to these approved vendors. The vendor must incorporate these updates in their program to remain compliant with NFIRS standards and to help ensure "error free" incident reporting. For this reason, maintaining a current licensure with your vendor and downloading updates is a must.

Monthly, email the NFIRS transaction file (created via your department management software) to the LFIRS box at LFIRS.reporting@dps.la.gov.

Do not email these files to the LFIRS program manager employee email. These files can be very large and rapidly max out employee email box capacity. Thus, the email is rejected, the file lost and the data not imported.

Please do not mail CDs, floppy disks, or paper forms. Submissions attempted in this manner will be returned to sender and data not recorded.

NOTE: If you are unsure of how to create this NFIRS transaction file, your software vendor is your best resource.

If your department is on a tight budget and/or you are only interested in incident reporting, FREE software is available! The Federal Client Tool will allow you to record, modify, and print copies of your incidents. Using the Federal Client Tool for reporting also means that you will not have to email your incident reports to the State Program Manager. You will actually enter your incident reports into the State/National database (you must have Internet connectivity and be online to utilize the Federal Client Tool for incident reporting). Contact your State Program Manager for assitance in subscribing to this software.

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Q: 9. How does the importing process and incident error notification work?

A: Your emailed data files fall into a processing queue and are addressed in order of receipt. Your data file is imported into the State/National database via the USFA software utilized by NFIRS State Program Managers. This import process also validates the incidents submitted or, rather, checks them for errors. Upon completion of the import process, an Incident Import Summary (see example below) is produced. The State Program Manager will forward this report to you via a reply to the email that contained the file received from your department.

"FDID" - MONTH YEAR
Incident Report Summary:
Valid imports: 50
Invalid imports: 6
Deleted incidents: 0
Import failures: 0
TOTAL Processed: 56

This summary shows the total number of records that were successfully imported into the database and how many were valid and/or invalid.

An incident that is flagged invalid means that the record contains critical errors. Critical errors could include omission of key data elements in the record, conflicting information, or missing required modules.

By Federal standards, invalid reports are unacceptable, thus these critical errors must be corrected and the report resubmitted.

NOTE: Approved vendor software must meet the standards set by the USFA for incident reporting. For the most part, these approved vendors do an excellent job of keeping up with these standards, but on occasion we do have "hiccups". In these cases, your department's software validation process may not show any errors in your incidents, but when these incidents are imported into the State/National database via the USFA software, errors may be identified. As the customer, please notify your software vendor of recurring validation issues so that the vendor can make the appropriate updates to their software.

Incidents are deleted during the import/validation process when the data file you submit contains either the direction to delete an incident that currently existed in the database or an updated incident. To put it simply, the system does away with the old and replaces it with the new.

Situations that will cause import failures occur when the data file contains faulty data, stray characters, or directions to change or delete a report that does not yet exist in the database. Exposures submitted without a primary report will fail to import. In other words, you cannot report an exposure without reporting the initial fire. The State Program Manager will review import failure notices to determine the problem and report back to you so that the issue may be resolved and the incident(s) resubmitted and imported successfully.

Should a data file contain invalid reports, you will receive an error report along with the Incident Import Summary from the State Program Manager. This report will be in a spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel format, and will provide information to help you identify the incident in error, the module in which the error occurs, the field within the module that is in question, and an explanation of the error. Critical errors must be corrected and the corrected incidents resubmitted to the State Program Manager for processing.

You need not create an export file that is specific to corrected incidents. Your reporting software should have a feature that flags edited incidents for re-submission. As you follow the data file export process, you may see an option to "include those files flagged for re-submission". Make sure that option is selected.

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This page was last modified on July 23, 2015