The FDNY program allows fire chiefs to access a list of buildings in their districts that are at highest risk of experiencing a fire that day.

FDNY Banking on FireCast 3.0

The NFPA Journal's November/December 2014 issue checks in on the department's impressive progress with "smart firefighting" and big data.

Jesse Roman's article in the NFPA Journal's November/December 2014 issue checks in on the New York City Fire Department's impressive progress with "smart firefighting" and big data. The department will begin using FireCast 3.0 early next year, the article reports, which promises to make the citywide fire hazard prediction tool substantially better than 2.0, which already has proven successful.

The article describes FDNY's program as "one of the most technologically sophisticated tools ever developed by the fire service." FireCast is a data-analytics algorithm used in the program, which is named the Risked-Based Inspection System; from it, fire chiefs can look at a list of buildings in their districts that are at highest risk of experiencing a fire that day, according to the article.

The data come from many sources, and the difference between 2.0 and 3.0 is stark: The current version sorts data from five city agencies into as many as 60 fire risk factors, but 3.0 will sort data from 17 agencies and data from New York City's 311 non-emergency phone reporting system into as many as 7,500 risk factors, including buildings specifications, past trash violations, and noise complaints.

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