IAFC Video Highlights Bomb Arson Tracking System

The Bomb Arson Tracking System is a tool geared to aid U.S. fire departments and fire marshals in their efforts to track arson incidents, manage investigation data, and apprehend arsonists.

The Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS) is a tool geared to aid U.S. fire departments and fire marshals in their efforts to track arson incidents, manage investigation data, and apprehend arsonists. Recently, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) U.S. Bomb Data Center (USBDC) to create a new informational video to alert the fire and emergency service to its evolving capabilities and encourage them to participate in the multifaceted system.

“Crimes that involve arson and explosives are among the most devastating incidents that confront our country,” said ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson. “I encourage all fire service executives to incorporate BATS into their investigative policies and practices to help all of us maximize public safety surrounding these crimes.”

BATS, which has also been endorsed by the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), operates on many levels to support both local investigative needs and national collaboration and trend spotting. System features include:

  • secure web-based computer application;
  • ability to track and manage investigations locally while simultaneously contributing findings to a national level database and national statistical reporting;
  • self-administered accounts that allow departments and agencies to control how their information is used and shared;
  • ability to research, track, and compare multiple incidents—locally or across the nation—using real-time data and while maintaining operational security;
  • access to intelligence advisories and comprehensive resource library;
  • data sets associated with the tracing of explosive products from manufacture to the end user;
  • ability to upload and store multimedia files relating to investigations;
  • GIS mapping capabilities; and
  • unit management tools provide a snapshot of activity, providing data for administration management of personnel and budgets.

There are currently more than 7,000 authorized BATS users from more than 1,500 local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies across the United States.

It is critical for fire department personnel to understand that BATS is not intended to replace the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). While the primary mission of NFIRS is to collect fire incident information, BATS is dedicated to documenting and supporting the resulting post-incident investigation in cases involving fire or explosives.

“We are happy to lend our support to this effort with the Bomb Arson Tracking System,” said Glenn Gaines, Acting United States Fire Administrator. “The USFA and ATF are partners in promoting Arson Awareness, and BATS is currently included in the curriculum at the National Fire Academy's Fire/Arson Origin-and-Cause Investigations course. In 2009, 10 firefighters died as a result of arson-related fires. In addition, an estimated $1.1 billion in direct property loss occurs annually. We all must continue every effort to protect our communities and be sure that when it comes to firefighter health and safety, everyone goes home.”

To learn more, view the new IAFC-produced video or visit the ATF website where the video will be posted under the U.S. Bomb Data Center.

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