Firefighting, Tech Zone, Training

Big Data in the Fire Service

Issue 5 and Volume 167.

By Will Linger Managing data in the fire service is complicated. Around the United States, almost every fire department retains data about the services it provides. Many departments treat these databases as junk drawers of information and are unwilling or unable to appropriately excavate and interpret the data for their benefit. In Managing Information in the Public Sector, Jay White says, “First and foremost, information is a vital organizational resource. It is just as important as people and money …. Information [technology] has the potential to radically transform the way public agencies do their business.”1 So how does this affect our fire departments? Tom McEwen and Catherine Miller emphasize the importance of managing big data in the fire service: “Every fire department is responsible for managing its operations in such a way that firefighters can do the most effective job of fire control and fire prevention in the safest way…

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