Frisco’s fire department is one of six across the country—and the only one from Texas—selected by the U.S. Fire Administration to test a prototype information and analytics system.

The National Emergency Response Information System is an analytic system designed to collect critical information following emergencies to document and introduce community risk reduction efforts, according to a March 12 U.S. Fire Administration news release.

What it means

The system will empower fire and emergency services communities by equipping them with an empirical basis for decision-making, according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s website.

It is built with geographic information system technology for location-enabled decision support capabilities, according to the news release. As it continues to be developed through the prototype testing, it is expected to inform community risks, including vulnerable populations and climate hazards.

“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,” said John Butler, fire chief of Fairfax County and president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, in the news release.

NERIS produces analytics to support enhanced preparedness and response to all-hazard incidents, wildland urban interface events, community risk reduction, climate change threats, and associated resilience and mitigation efforts as well as future pandemic emergency preparedness.

Zooming out

Only six fire departments in the U.S. were selected to test out the system:
  • 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
NERIS is provided to fire departments for free through a partnership with the U.S. Fire Administration and the Science and Technology branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to the news release.

All of the selected fire departments have successfully onboarded the system and started reporting local emergency information.

“The launch of the prototype NERIS, and successful onboarding and use by these initial six fire departments represents a major step forward for [the U.S. Fire Administration] 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,” U.S. Fire Administrator Lori Moore-Merrell said in the news release.

Going forward

The six stations will continue to test and evaluate the NERIS prototype to inform future development ahead of the full version’s release this fall, according to the news release.