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Transitioning to NERIS:
Data Field Changes &
Implementation Challenges

This guide outlines the transition from NFIRS to NERIS, highlighting key changes in data fields and addressing implementation challenges such as system integration and training. It provides a succinct overview for emergency services aiming for a smooth adaptation and enhanced reporting capabilities.

The USFA shared some of the primary data-oriented fields that will change with the transition to NERIS.

Our attempt to summarize the important changes is below.

As always, the best source of information on the NFIRS to NERIS transition is from the USFA. 

Check out our other NERIS related blog posts here.

Understanding Data Field Proposals

Three key areas were considered in the proposals for data field collection: Department Information, Dispatch/CAD Information, and Incident Information.

Here’s a breakdown of each:

1. Department Information:

  • NERIS introduces new ID numbers, including fields for the old FDID, enabling seamless transition and data tracking.

  • It supports single-system, multi-agency setups, accommodating sub-departments and parent-child indicators.

  • NERIS organizes information hierarchically: Department → Station(s) → Unit(s), although adjustments may be needed for existing data structures.

  • More detailed information is required, such as NERIS-specific fields like neris_id and GIS polygon coordinates for response areas.

2. Dispatch/CAD Schema:

  • While similar to existing data, NERIS proposes additional fields, necessitating considerations for system compatibility and customization.

  • Standardized NERIS call types may require alignment with client-specific call type codes for submission.

3. Incident Schema:

  • Similar to NFIRS, but with expanded fields, especially for specific incident categories like FIRE and EMS.

  • Many fields overlap with NEMSIS specifications, potentially leveraging existing tables for lookup.

  • Adjustments are required for fields with variable numbers of items, such as Actions Taken.

  • Inclusion of GIS data, like incident scene outlines and coordinates, adds complexity to data collection.
RedNMX NERIS hierarchical data structure of emergency services departments transitioning to NERIS
RedNMX NERIS NFIRS firefighter at a modern fire department command and dispatch center adapting to the NERIS system
RedNMX NERIS Dispatch

Implementation Challenges

While the transition promises enhanced reporting capabilities, several challenges must be addressed:

1. Data Transfer Requirements:

Clarification is needed regarding the method of data submission, whether through REST endpoints, SOAP, or other protocols.

2. Approval and Submission Process:

Procedures for approval, submission statuses, and vendor verification processes require definition to ensure smooth operations.

3. System Integration:

Integrating NERIS-compliant data fields into existing systems, such as RedNMX, may necessitate updates and customization.

4. Training and Familiarization:

Fire department personnel will require training to familiarize themselves with the new reporting protocols and systems.

5. Technical Considerations:

Ensuring compatibility with existing CAD systems and addressing any discrepancies in data formatting are essential for seamless transition.

RedNMX NERIS NFIRS the expanded incident schema for FIRE and EMS categories under NERIS, illustrating the broader range of data fields, actions taken, and the inclusion of GIS data
RedNMX NERIS Transition from NFIRS

Is Your Fire Department RMS Ready for NERIS?

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  • NFIRS 5.0 Fire Incident Reporting
  • Centralized Dispatch
  • Inventory Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Non-Incident Event Management
  • Mobile Application

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