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Maine Fire & EMS Incident Reporting System (MEFIRS)

 

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The MEFIRS/NFIRS State Program Manger is Michelle Mason Webber. Her contact information is as follows:

Michelle Mason Webber
Office of State Fire Marshal
52 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0052
Office phone: (207) 626-3873
Email: michelle.mason@maine.gov

 

The MEFIRS login screen is at this link: https://www.mefirs.org/elite and is best used in the Google Chrome web browser.


Why Should Fire Departments Report Incidents?

 

Maine statute Title 25 MRSA §2395 requires that Fire Chiefs shall submit to the State Fire Marshal an incident report for each response made, regardless of whether an actual fire occurred. After returning from an incident, fire departments create an appropriate report and either send the report to Michelle Mason Webber, or enter it into the MEFIRS system. The State Fire Marshal submits data compiled from all participating fire departments to the U.S Fire Administration.

 

Documenting the individuals who were on incidents will aid firefighters if they experience an injury and need to investigate disability: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/5/title5sec18511.html.

 

 

Documenting the individuals who were on incidents also helps with worker compensation and presumption of cancer or cariovascular/pulmonary disease:

 

The Maine Fire & EMS Incident Reporting System (MEFIRS) is an information and data-gathering system supported by the State Fire Marshal's Office, the Maine EMS office and the Maine Forest Service. The goal is to encourage fire departments to use a standardized incident reporting system to report their activities. The MEFIRS fire report information is reviewed and uploaded to the National Fire Information Reporting System (NFIRS), which is jointly administered by the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Information Council. In the State of Maine, the Office of State Fire Marshal functions as the state's fire service representative to the National Fire Information Council.


Uses of MEFIRS data

Data from MEFIRS is used by the State Fire Marshal’s Office in preparing the annual report. Information gathered from local fire departments provides a resource of statewide statistical data that can be shared, to help local fire chiefs determine fire trends and specific areas of fire loss that may need to be addressed in their jurisdictions. Local fire departments can do studies identifying trends in the number of calls to the fire department, the types of calls made, and the origin of calls. This information might be used to determine the best location for a fire station or if another tank truck is needed. Data can also provide justification of fire department budgets to a city or town council, or town selectmen. Annual NFIRS data are used for the U.S. Fire Administration’s publication "Fire In The United States," which describes the nature and scope of the fire problem in the United States.


 

Michelle has written a "hints" document that provides basic guidance on how to do some MEFIRS fire tasks. This document will be updated when deemed necessary, because many tasks can be researched in MEFIRS' Help/University section: Hints on MEFIRS tasks (PDF, 10 pages, 431 KB) *** updated 6/01/18

Michelle has created a list of State Plus-One codes for fire reports. Please contact Michelle if you have a situation where you believe a new statewide Plus-One code needs to be created. She will assess the existing NFIRS code situation and decide if a new Plus-One code needs to be created. Maine State Plus-One codes (PDF, 3 pages, 233 KB) *** updated 05/11/18

Michelle has developed a "How to Add or Inactivate a Person's MEFIRS Account" guide. How to Add or Inactivate a Person's MEFIRS Account (PDF, 1 page, 275 KB) ***updated 06/25/18



News on MEFIRS project - from Michelle Mason Webber

 

June 19, 2018: We have discovered that, when Fire Agency Administrators use the “+ NEW” button to add people to their MEFIRS User list, there is the potential for multiple accounts to be created for a person. Example: Department A makes an account for “J. Brown”; Department B makes an account for “Jim Brown” and Department C makes an account for “James Brown”-but they all are accounts for the same person. This could cause issues down the road if someone’s activities need to be documented for presumptive cancer or workman’s comp situations. To stop this from happening, I have deactivated the “+New” button for Fire Agency Administrators. From now on, if you need to add a person to your User list and they can’t be found when using the “+ New From Licensure” button, the person must create an account through the online portal (see the document "How to Add or Inactivate a Person's MEFIRS Account" above). Once the person has created an account through the link, they will show up when the “+New From Licensure” button is used to find them in the master list. This will enable multiple departments to pull a person’s same information into their User list. One person, one MEFIRS account.

 

June 12, 2018: If Maine fire departments want to host a MEFIRS training, and have it open to other fire departments, please contact me. I am looking for training sites for Penobscot, Lincoln, Cumberland and upper York counties. This training would focus on how fire departments can set up their Apparatus and Personnel, and how to complete an NFIRS-compatible fire report in the online MEFIRS reporting system. I don’t plan to do trainings in late fall or winter because the traveling becomes iffy. THis is a general flyer about the training: MEFIRS fire report training (PDF, 1 page, 109 KB).  The trainings currently scheduled include:

 

 

Sagadahoc County: August 8th @ 6pm at the Bowdoinham fire station

Franklink County: September 12th @ 6pm at the Farmington fire station

 

February 28, 2018: The attached document summerizes the results of the fire department MEFIRS survey, conducted in February, 2018 using Survey Monkey: Results of the Fire Department MEFIRS Module Survey (PDF, 1 page, 195 KB)

 

February 23, 2018: The update yesterday to MEFIRS fixed the Fire validation issues that have been in existence since we activated this system. Five fields in the Fire module were not flagging red when fields needed to be filled in, causing a report to show no red flags and 100% score, but be invalid when I tried to send it to the NFIRS database. As of today, that shouldn’t be an issue. However, past 2017 reports that have this problem are not “healed” by yesterday’s fix, so they will be invalid until they are fixed. January 2018 and this month’s reports (until today) may have these problems as well. The update also added the Inventory module to MEFIRS. I’ve turned it on for Fire and Fire/EMS Agency Administrators, so you should see it as an option in your account under the Incidents dropdown menu (you can switch to it under this menu). I highly recommend watching the February Release Demo video under the Featured Release Notes , February 15, 2018, version 1.18.02.0 ( to find this, choose your Community tab-Help/University-Release Notes icon). ImageTrend said in the video that they are creating a very detailed video that will explain how to use the Inventory module.

 

December 5, 2017: Great news for MEFIRS users regarding fire reports for the Maine Forest Service! I have confirmation from my contact at the Maine Forest Service (MFS) that the fire departments who are currently using MEFIRS to do their fire reports no longer need to send paper Wildland reports to the Maine Forest Service. THE MFS is linked into the MEFIRS system and they receive information on Wildland-based fires when a fire department creates a MEFIRS report that indicates a fire impacted a Wildland. This system is working well, and we want people to know that your MEFIRS report is replacing the paper version. However, the MFS still encourages folks to reach out to them so they can investigate fires in all cases. This keeps the line of communication open between the fire services and the Maine Forest Service.

 

However, for those departments who use third-party software to do fire reports (such as Emergency Reporting), you still need to contact the MFS ranger for your area and let them know about Wildland fire reports; either in an email with the report attached or with radio or phone call notification. Whatever method you have been using to notify the MFS.

 

September 13, 2017: I have updated the Fire Incident report form, which contains fixes to the Wildland/Fire module conflicts. The Maine Forest Service (MFS) has joined MEFIRS to document their fires and to view any fire department reports that involve Wildlands. A critical part of this reporting is the answer you give to the Basic module/Location panel’s question “Is this location identified only by latitude/longitude?” This question will only show up if the Incident Type is one of the following codes: 140-143, 160, 170-173, 561, 622, 631 or 632.

If you have any type of a street address (or near a street address) for your incident location, then choose NO for this question. If you have only latitude/longitude coordinates for the location, choose YES. Forest Rangers will be answering YES to this question most often, because they have the best chance of being in a remote location found by using latitude/longitude coordinates. Forest Rangers have “read-only” permissions to view fire department Wildland reports: they will be able to link their reports to a department’s report within their section of MEFIRS (you won’t be able to see their linked report). The MFS will be happy to share their reports with a fire department, but they will have to email it to you. They cannot provide direct access in MEFIRS to their linked report because of law enforcement concerns. Please contact your local Forest Ranger if you need a copy of their report. When the MFS and I are confident that the run report is working correctly and consistantly, I will send out an email letting people know they don't have to send paper reports to MFS anymore.

August 15, 2017: ImageTrend has finished loading the missing towns/townships/plantations and their accompanying zip codes, into the MEFIRS system. Michelle gave them a file with the zip codes that cover the vast majority of each area’s square footage (ignoring little sections with a separate zip code). These zip codes should be available when using the Fire runform Location Lookup or Set From Postal Code fields. Please notify Michelle if you notice a location is missing, or if a zip code is assigned to the wrong area.

August 4, 2017: Michelle has noticed that many fire reports are showing up in department's Incidents Lists with scores less than 100, which means they won’t be imported into the national NFIRS system as valid reports. Those fire departments that create an NFIRS report from an EMS report need to go into the NFIRS report to finish collecting data for NFIRS. It isn’t just a process of making the associated NFIRS report and then it is done: you have to finish the NFIRS report and get the score to 100 in order for it to be “complete”. Many times errors in the EMS module are because NFIRS wants a Patient Number for a patient, and the patient “box” is out lined in red. When you click in the box, you get a screen showing where you have to put the Patient Number, which is actually the count of the patient (patient #1 would be 001, patient # 2 will be 002, etc.). NFIRS wants to know how many patients were in this incident. Please make sure to hit the green “SAVE” button when the errors are fixed, so the information will be saved.

 

April 5, 2017: This is a notice that the Fire Marshal’s Office is discontinuing support of the federal NFIRS fire reporting system on June 1, 2017. This date coincides with Maine EMS moving over the last batch of agencies (EMS agencies and duel fire departments) to the new state MEFIRS system.

What does this mean?

For fire departments who are still using the federal NFIRS system to create fire reports, this means that Michelle will not be activating or unlocking NFIRS accounts or issuing new passwords. HOWEVER, she would like invalid 2016 reports to get fixed before we abandon the federal system completely, so she will be emailing fire departments who have invalid 2016 reports that need to be fixed. If a department needs their NFIRS account unlocked in order to fix the reports, she is more than willing to do so. But she will not be validating NFIRS reports or importing them into the state database after June 1st. There are also about 70 invalid 2017 reports that need attention before June 1st, so please take a look at your data in the system and get them fixed. If you are a “fire-only” fire department chief who hasn’t already done so, please fill out the MEFIRS registration form completely (it’s in 2 different formats), and get it back to Michelle so your department can be activated in MEFIRS to do reports. The EMS license # (even if it’s expired)needs to be filled out OR the birth date needs to be filled out (for those who don’t have an EMS license), and everyone on the form needs to have a unique email address.

For those departments who have been activated in the new state MEFIRS system by Michelle or Maine EMS, you are all set to report fire and/or EMS reports in the new system. You can also enter 2016 fire reports in the new system if you need to catch up on your reporting. Please don’t double-enter reports into MEFIRS and another reporting system, because we want to avoid duplicate reports floating around out there.

For those departments who choose to use third-party reporting programs to do fire reports, please continue to send me export data files by email and I will process them into the national database. At some point these departments will be able to log into MEFIRS and upload their data files themselves. I will email everyone when that ability is available. Please email Michelle for more information.


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