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Improve Safety with Risk-Based Fire Inspections

July 22, 2013
New technology targets high-risk buildings.

Firefighters citywide are now using new technology that improves their building inspection program by focusing on structures that pose the greatest fire risk. The Risk-Based Inspection System application – the first of its kind in the nation – uses data from multiple sources, including information mined from other city agency databases.

The new model tracks, scores, prioritizes, and then automatically schedules a building for inspection based on specified risk criteria. Data is drawn from buildings, finance, city planning, and fire departments to complete a rap sheet of a property.

“Uniformed firefighters currently perform 50,000 full-building fire safety inspections every year and until now, fire officers had limited information about how to prioritize buildings for inspection in the districts they protect. Our new system changes that,” says Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Drawing on building information from many sources, the Risk-Based Inspection System enables fire companies to prioritize which buildings pose the greatest fire risk – and that means we’ll stop more fires before they start.”

The program documents the building’s construction material, whether or not a sprinkler system is in place, the height and age of the structure, last date of inspection, and occupancy. The system also captures and tracks violation history and then reschedules follow-up inspections when necessary.

“Building fires have decreased 16% citywide in the last 11 years, and fire deaths have declined to the lowest levels on record,” reports Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “By focusing on buildings that pose the greatest fire risk, we’ll drive these numbers even lower to save lives.”

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