Oshkosh to test new fire prevention tool

The Oshkosh Fire Department responds to a house fire blamed on unattended cooking
The Oshkosh Fire Department responds to a house fire blamed on unattended cooking(WBAY)
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 9:40 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - The Oshkosh Fire Department is joining a national pilot program that uses the latest technology to collect data, analyze the risks for a potential fire, and help the fire department educate neighbors about those risks.

As one of only 250 fire departments across the country selected, Oshkosh will soon be able to build a community risk assessment digitally. It’s meant to give the fire department valuable insights based on previous fire calls.

What’s causing most of the fires in Oshkosh? What neighborhood has more fires caused by smoking materials? Does one part of the city have more fire calls during the holidays?

“Rather than just looking at the city as one big square with almost 70,000 people into it, how can we target what we’re doing to really... identify risks, address them, and mitigate them?” Fire Chief Mike Stanley explained.

“For example, we can look at where are our fires occurring in Oshkosh, but then drill down deeper about what’s causing those fires. How can we focus our fire prevention efforts, our public education efforts, our responses?”

The technology is being offered by the National Fire Protection Association.

The fire chief says it represents a trend in the industry that’s been gaining traction over the past two decades.

“We all have our own personal experiences on the calls we go on, we can look at national trends, but we don’t have the same risks that other people around the country have,” Stanley said.

The department will begin submitting data over the next few weeks. They hope to have the results by June showing the biggest hazards in specific neighborhoods and the community as a whole.

“I really think the impact will be potentially saving lives. How can we prevent loss of life from a fire when that true tragedy is always something we’re very concerned and interested in. So, if we can prevent those fires, people don’t die in fires.”

One of the goals of the fire department is to become nationally accredited. The completion of this program is a step in that direction.

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