National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System

By Deane Barker on September 19, 2005

Database Aims to Lower Firefighter Deaths: Great example of using the Web to enable knowledge sharing.

It’s a scene that plays out in firehouses every day: Firefighters return from a blaze or rescue call and talk about a close call that could have injured or killed someone. The International Association of Fire Chiefs wants firefighters nationwide to learn from such stories through the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System.

The national database went online last month after the completion of a pilot program involving 38 fire departments across the country. The Web site lets firefighters report such incidents anonymously and without fear of punishment.

When I was in the Navy, there was a similar system where the safety officer would print out case studies of some kind that came over the wire. However, they weren’t near misses as much as they were Darwin Awards — accident reports, basically. You read them for the morbid fascination factor, but they really did make you think about how you did things to ensure it wouldn’t happen to you.

I don’t think the firefighter thing is public. I couldn’t find a URL.



  1. My roommate in college worked summers at a gravel pit, and the mining industry had a similar system. These were a little like the ‘Think!’ signs along the highway – whenever someone was killed or injured, one of these went out as a reminder not to kill yourself in the same way.

    Two of the ones I remember him telling me about were a guy that was servicing a giant mining shovel, and decided to unbolt the several-ton counterweight from underneath it (squish), and a guy that decided to look down in the blasting hole to see why the charge didn’t go off (blam).

  2. The military has a great website that works like this too…only dealing with the current tactics being used by the enemy. It was a great resource in preparing for deployment and is open to anyone to submit white papers and after action reviews. I used it a lot in preparing training and on keeping up on current trends while deployed. It was just as useful as the daily intel reports we would get. As you can imagine, however, it is in a secure site for military members only or else I would provide the link.

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