In collaboration with data analytics firm UrbanLogiq, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Division of Fire Marshals (SFMD) developed a wildfire analysis tool, a software platform that assesses fire risk, identifies factors that contribute to local level and predicts fire risk trends. This software enables SFMD personnel and Minnesota firefighters to make faster, more impactful decisions directly focused on saving lives.
“Data is critical so firefighters and fire department managers can prevent wildfires, save lives, and continue the important work they do every day. That’s why we’re so passionate about this tool and proud to put it in the hands of our firefighters.” – Jim Smith, Fire Marshal.
In 2017, fire deaths in Minnesota hit a 22-year high. 68 people died in fires, a 58% increase from 2016 and the highest number since 1995. Another worrying jump was the number of people over the age of 60 killed in fires, which rose by 119 % in 2017. These alarming statistics prompted SFMD to take a closer look at the data and find more strategic ways to reduce those numbers.
“This data helps us examine patterns that are occurring in our communities and reduce the risk of people ending up in hospital and losing their lives and property. If we can reduce those risks, we can improve the lives of the communities we are serving,” Casidy Anderson, Minneapolis Fire Department Community Risk Reduction Manager.
The SFMD commissioned UrbanLogiq to develop the fire analysis tool. UrbanLogiq took historical fire data dating back to 2004 and integrated it with other open source data and demographic data to understand the profile of a community and its specific needs. Putting all the pieces together in a way that makes sense and is easy for firefighters to use, allows them to direct their approach and apply an equity lens to firefighting and fire prevention.
“There are many things we can do to try to reduce the chance of wildfires if we have the data to back up what we’re trying to do and help us focus on our efforts,” – Bob Reif, Deputy State Fire Marshal.
The Fire Analysis Tool analyzes historical fire events to find patterns and determine a fire risk rating. It uses a machine learning algorithm to predict the likelihood of fire risk increasing or decreasing in a region. Analyzing all the different data sources and having easily accessible insights all together in one unified platform allows firefighters to:
● Identify past, present and future high fire risk areas to focus fire education and prevention efforts
● Identify the major contributors to wildfires in each community and develop strategies to reduce them
● Identify high-risk populations (ie, low-income and elderly populations) to focus resources
● Measure and monitor the impact of fire mitigation efforts
“The predictive model will help a boss understand well, this type of fire is likely to happen in this area if we don’t deliver some sort of response in the next few months or weeks, whatever that is. It’s something all of us in the state we need to embrace it if we are to do anything effectively about the prevention of not just fatalities but fires in general,” — Bob Reif, deputy state fire marshal.
When it comes to fire prevention, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every community, every neighborhood and even every block is unique. In terms of risk reduction strategies, what works for one department may not work for another. Access to critical information in just a few clicks enables firefighters to save more lives by providing solutions specific to the needs of each department across the state.
“We can now be very specific in a department that has very limited resources. Now they know where they are going to get the most bang for their buck, the most bang for the buck they will be able to devote to prevention efforts,” Bob Reif, deputy fire marshal.
Who is UrbanLogiq? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmp-eRd8OUg&t=1s UrbanLogiq helps governments build better communities with data. Our cloud-based platform consolidates fragmented data into silos to create a unified view of a community. UrbanLogiq then uses artificial intelligence to derive information and streamline processes, providing a revolutionary way to help government agencies make faster, cheaper and more accurate decisions that benefit all.