Today, the board of directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs approved a management plan to keep the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System online and operational through September 30, 2013. The plan was presented by the Near-Miss Sustainability Task Force, which was organized when the popular program was denied federal grant funding in September.
The Near-Miss Program Gap Plan addresses basic program functions of reporting, data collection and search capabilities, reducing costs to minimum levels until additional funding is secured. This program-management approach is supported by IFSTA/Fire Protection Publications, a division of Oklahoma State University, through an in-kind donation of database and application-hosting services, and IAFC funding of staffing and operational needs.
"To see the IAFC family rally around this program is a tremendous testament to how strongly the whole organization believes in the life-saving capability of the Near-Miss Reporting System," said Chief Bill Metcalf, IAFC first vice president and chair of the Near-Miss Sustainability Task Force.
To date, the IAFC’s EMS; Volunteer and Combination Officers; and Safety, Health & Survival Sections and the Great Lakes Division have each stepped forward to commit funds to support this plan, with additional funding provided through the IAFC operational budget. Members of the Safety, Health and Survival Section will also contribute volunteer hours to help create educational and training materials.
"We still have a way to go to solidify the future of this program, but this plan sets us on the right path," said Chief Hank Clemmensen, IAFC president and chairman of the board. "I want to say thank you to all of the IAFC members and many others in our industry who are stepping forward to support this program."
Maintaining Critical Capabilities
The task force identified several low-cost, core capabilities of the program that will be maintained as part of the program plan:
- Website operation, including the ability to submit and search reports and to access the resources page
- Regular publication articles
- Customized search requests, as needed
- Near-Miss Matters electronic newsletter, to be distributed monthly in place of the Report of the Week
Deliverables not currently supported by the gap plan, such as data analysis, the annual training calendar and the development of training resources, are postponed until further funding can be identified. All previously planned technology and database enhancements are also postponed.
The Near-Miss Sustainability Task Force will continue to explore several long-term funding opportunities in 2013, including pursuing federal funding opportunities.