HARRISBURG, Pa. -- State Fire Commissioner Ed Mann said the Office of the State Fire Commissioner is now proceeding with statewide implementation of the Pennsylvania Fire Information Reporting System (PennFIRS) program.

Mann said the implementation of PennFIRS software will begin in early January with a staged acceptance of 2002 data from counties that are ready and willing to provide first level data collection. The software allows fire departments across the state to electronically collect, manage and share information about the incidents to which they respond.

The state first had to make sure the PennFIRS data would be accepted by the U.S. Fire Administration -- and the state cleared that hurdle in mid December, when the U.S. Fire Administration successfully received, processed and determined that the first round of information submitted by PennFIRS met the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data standards.

"We have been working for several years to develop a statewide fire-information reporting system, and now with the acceptance of the data, we can close the loop," Mann said.

The OSFC said it anticipates that by the end of 2003, fire departments throughout Pennsylvania will be able to electronically submit their data to the Office of the State Fire Commissioner and on to the U.S. Fire Administration's NFIRS program.

The OSFC said it has provided more than 1,200 software licenses and maintenance agreements to fire departments statewide since August 2001.

More than 1,600 of the state's fire departments are currently capable of collecting the information that will be the subject of the PennFIRS data, the OSFC said, due to the software that the OSFC was able to purchase and continues to distribute to fire departments and county emergency management/911 agencies.

The Office of the State Fire Commissioner