Washington, DC— A new international non-profit organization was formed this month to help local fire departments gather, organize, and translate big data to improve how they evaluate risks, deploy resources, and respond to fires and other emergencies.
The International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) will be the leading research, development, and training organization focused on using data science to provide analytical tools and information to the public safety sector. IPSDI will be the parent organization of two established and growing programs, FireCARES and National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS).
FireCARES uses "big data" systems to analyze how fire department resources are deployed to match community risks. NFORS provides unique capabilities and insights for public safety organizations, delivered through web-based applications, using local and national data to reduce firefighter and civilian injuries and death, as well as property loss.
IPSDI is incorporated in Virginia and has applied for 501(c)(3) status. The Data Institute has research partners affiliated with many renowned institutions, including: The International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, UL, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Urban Institute, and the University of Texas at Austin. These partners also serve as the new group's research advisory council.
Development of FireCARES and NFORS is funded by Assistance to Firefighters Grant programs of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). CFAI-RISK, the current grant administrator, is working to transfer FireCARES and NFORS to IPSDI in order for the programs to have a permanent home to grow and mature.
IPSDI also plans to work with law enforcement to provide technologically advanced data capture and real time analytics, expanding on its existing expertise to serve a broader share of the public safety community.