NERIS- Modernizing the U.S. Fire Data System: An Introduction to the National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS) with FSRI

FSRI Awarded Contract to Develop New Fire Data Platform, National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS)

May 9, 2023

UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a contract through the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement program to develop a new, interoperable fire information and innovative analytics platform for the American fire and emergency services. The new platform, which will be known as the National Emergency Response Information System (NERIS), will be developed by FSRI in collaboration with the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and with support from the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate. NERIS will equip the fire and emergency service community with empirical tools and actionable analytics that support decision-making for enhanced preparedness and response to incidents involving all hazards. NERIS will replace the legacy data system, the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), with a secure cloud-hosted platform, the targeted transition timing of which is slated to begin in 2025. 

To support development of NERIS, FSRI will develop innovative technical solutions and data science methods to bridge the gap between the capabilities of the legacy NFIRS system and the contemporary needs of the American fire and emergency services communities. The incident data captured, integrated, and analyzed will fill a void in the critical data and analytics required to support fire service operations, as well as enhance fire research today and into the future. FSRI will create an open solutions architecture that integrates data currently available with data from future incidents to deliver real-time, actionable intelligence on local incidents. 

“We plan to create a transparent modern software system for NERIS that will evolve with the needs of local emergency responders and the USFA,” said Craig Weinschenk, research engineer at FSRI. “Over time, the data collected in NERIS will provide valuable insights from regional and national data aggregation.” 

Once launched, the new NERIS platform will provide capabilities for documenting community risk reduction efforts and associated resilience and mitigation efforts into the overall preparedness and resilience equation. The platform will provide greater insights into vulnerability gaps where resources can be used to harden communities and minimize the negative outcomes of future emergencies. The platform will integrate data from numerous best available sources such as authoritative federal data sets, early incident detection sensors, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems, and other systems to inform community risks including vulnerable populations, the wildland urban interface (WUI), drought areas, and flood plains. In addition, NERIS will support rapid data capture from hostile event response, response to structure fires, emergency medical incidents, and hazardous materials events. 

According to Steve Kerber, FSRI vice president and executive director, the new platform will benefit fire and emergency service agencies for years to come. “Fire departments will be able to access and use their own data to inform mission critical decisions and prevention and preparedness efforts. It’s a tremendous undertaking and we are delighted to contribute to this important effort,” said Kerber.

Read the Media Advisory from USFA.