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Unified Analysis Framework and Data Comparison Center

Western Fire Chiefs Association

As the volume of available data swells and analysis methods grow ever more sophisticated, a growing number of public safety agencies are turning to data analytics to drive strategic decision-making processes. Paradoxically, the vast majority of fire departments in the U.S. cannot access the data and analytics technologies required to address tremendous challenges affecting their work every day. The Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA) - in partnership with multiple Public Safety Organizations (PSOs) - developed real-time performance analytics that integrates multiple data feeds. - August 2019

Read more about the outcomes and impacts of the Fire Data Lab here.

Western Fire Chiefs Logo

Meet the Team

Principle Investigator: David Van Ballegooijen
Western Fire Chiefs Association

Project Overview

The WFCA in partnership with multiple PSOs will accelerate the use of, and the tools for, data-driven decision making in the fire service with the assistance of a two-year grant. This project will create a common data warehouse that will fill critical gaps identified in the Public Safety Analytics Roadmap while also providing immediate benefits to participating PSOs in exchange for access to their performance data. The objectives are to:  

  • Provide near real-time analytic tools to 35 PSOs.
  • Create a “live” dynamic master data set.
  • Provide data tools and frameworks to PSOs, industry, and academia.
  • Create a community of mentor departments.

Under the leadership of WFCA staff and key mentor fire departments, WFCA will leverage the existing technology of Intterra, Inc. to create a data warehouse. Intterra’s existing data analysis and visualization framework (SituationAnalyst) will be used to integrate disparate data elements from multiple PSO systems and assemble them into a single warehouse for enhanced data analytics. This project will engage 35 PSOs to integrate their Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), Records Management Systems (RMS) and tracking systems with the Situation Analyst platform and then leverage that framework to create a unified de-conflicted enterprise database to provide situational awareness and live, specific, analytical capabilities to each PSO. 

This provides direct, immediate benefit to the PSOs and is an incentive to provide continuous data. The project will aggregate each PSO enterprise data set to create a federated master data set called the Data Comparison Center (DCC). The DCC will provide comparative analytical capabilities, community metrics, regional trending, and make data available for testing, benchmarking, and data science in a variety of forms as part of a research ecosystem for industry and academia.

Based on an on-going collaboration between WFCA and Intterra, WFCA has identified specific challenges for this project. They include incompatible data structures, non-standardized analytics business requirements, disparity in metrics, and differing priorities between PSOs. However, both WFCA and Intterra have worked through similar issues and will provide experienced guidance towards the solution set. A successful execution of this project will provide an operating environment that closes current gaps identified in the Public Safety Analytics Roadmap, including:

  • Lack of real-time data analytics related to response performance.
    • Ex: Multiple PSO CAD systems data in comparative response analysis statistics.
  • Insufficient integration of multiple data sources from several authoritative sources.
    • Ex: Applied research of disparate data sources within an interoperable framework.
  • Need for research and recommendations for data processing capabilities.
    • Ex: Lessons learned from large volume data integration with real-time parameters.
  • Desire for direct participation of PSO leaders in evaluating policy, and governance issues in the integrated data analytics environment.
    • Ex: Direct documented feedback from the Project Mentors on issues, questions, opinions, and solutions related to the policy and governance issues of data sharing and analysis.

 << Back to the PSIAP 2017 - Public Safety Analytics Page

Created September 28, 2017, Updated December 30, 2022