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Delivering Building Intelligence to First Responders



David G. Holmberg, Michelle A. Raymond, Jason D. Averill


Presently, there is no integrated solution for delivering building systems data into the hands of emergency responders. A standard building data delivery solution will integrate the capacity of the building fire safety systems with the capabilities of the fire service, resulting in an improvement in firefighter safety and a reduction in commercial property losses due to fire. Modern building automation systems have an increasing number of sensors monitoring fire, ventilation, security and other systems. Remote access to these systems’ data would provide greatly improved situational awareness for emergency responders, reducing response times as well as time to size up and mitigate building fires. Recently, significant progress has been made identifying critical information that building systems could supply to first responders. Delivering relevant, real-time information into the hands of first responders will improve situational awareness and operational effectiveness during building incident response. There remain many technical challenges to collecting, processing, and moving sensor data out of building systems, as well as challenges to meshing with public safety networks and addressing network architecture and security issues. This paper reviews these challenges and presents a summary of the current state-of-the-art, including a proposed data classification system to organize building system data for standardization of data communications between remote devices and building system data access interfaces. Finally, this paper presents a roadmap to address remaining challenges in enabling first responder access to critical building incident data.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1648
Report Number


alarms, building automation, building information modeling, communications, data classification, emergency response, fire, fire alarm, fire service, networks, standards


Holmberg, D. , Raymond, M. and Averill, J. (2013), Delivering Building Intelligence to First Responders, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created February 27, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018