Friday, December 21, 2012

Incident Type data element # 244 Dust explosion NFIRS

Area of Origin: 2006 NFIRS Combustible Dust Related Fire Analysis

Just recently an Incident Type data element #244 Dust explosion (no fire) was added to National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) (Page 3-24 .pdf). Many stakeholders are aware of combustible dust related fires with an Area of Origin in which NFIRS also recognizes service area data elements #52 Conduit, pipe, utility, or ventilation shaft, #55 Duct, Includes HVAC, cable, exhaust, and #58 Conveyors (pages 4-16 and 4-17 .pdf) In contrast, no recognition of dust collectors in Equipment Involved in Ignition (EII), Shop Tools and Industrial Equipment (pages 4-31 though 4-32) nor Area of Origin. A recent analysis of NFIRS 2006 data indicated pipes, ventilation shafts, ductwork, and conveyors as the area of origin in over 16% of combustible dust related fires in manufacturing sector service areas.

FM Global provides informative guidance in "Prevention and Mitigation of Combustible Dust Explosions and Fire," Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet No. 7-76, (page 38 .pdf) in Table 6 Loss by Equipment Type with dust collectors noted as the leading type of equipment involved in combustible dust incidents.

Here in the USA a problem arises with fire departments voluntarily reporting dust collector explosions or fires to the National Fire Data Center (NFDC) through National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). For instance, there's no specific data element to report dust collectors in NFIRS like for the data element #244 dust explosions. If the incident is not recorded then it is as if the incident never happened. NFIRS data is considered a legal document for reporting purposes

Is this acceptable to recognize data element #244 dust explosion in NFIRS yet ignore dust collectors? Sort off like a Catch-22 situation where many dust explosions and combustible dust related fires occur in dust collectors yet no adequate manner to report dust collector incidents comprehensively.

Currently there are no immediate plans for changes to the NFIRS. In the meantime, the National Fire Data Center (NFDC) accepts suggestions for changes for review in the next version of NFIRS. Anyone is welcome to forward specific suggestions to NFDC in addition to supporting documentation. Please forward documentation requesting a dust collector data element be added to NFIRS to Brad Pabody, Chief, National Fire Data Center, United States Fire Administration (301) 447-1049 (Fax) or brad.pabody(@) Thanks.

NFIRS 5.0 Complete Reference Guide 

Guidance on how to analyze NFIRS Version 5.0 fire data,  refer to USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System Version 5.0 Fire Data Analysis Guidelines and Issues documentation. 

     Information about the methodologies used in analyzing NFIRS data, Chapter 1 of Fire in the United States 2003-2007 15th Edition.

Using NFIRS to compute national estimates in  analyses,  article on the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Web page “The National Estimates Approach to U.S. Fire Statistics” by Hall and Harwood.

·         Details on the U.S. Fire Administration’s current fire data estimation methodology for all building (i.e., residential and nonresidential) fires and associated losses,  review the “National Estimates Methodology for Building Fires and Losses” (August 2012).


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