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New York City Fights Fire with Data

Written by Govtech
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  • Govtech
  • 2 years ago

Complex, analytics-driven programs have created a whirlwind of “smart” technologies to help modernize manual tasks and make jobs more efficient. In most industries, smart tools have been developed that try to predict the future so decision-makers can better use resources and personnel.

Predictive policing, for example, helps law enforcement pinpoint where a crime is likelier to occur on a given day, using a number of factors about a certain location. The technology can help alter daily beats, hopefully putting officers in the right place at the right time to prevent crimes.

But police aren’t the only emergency responders benefiting from smart technology — it’s helping firefighters in New York City get a jump on battling blazes too.

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has been using the Risk-Based Inspection System (RBIS), an Oracle-based program with data-mining capabilities, to better anticipate where fires may spark. The centerpiece of the tool is FireCast, an algorithm that organizes data from five city agencies into approximately 60 risk factors, which are then used to create lists of buildings that are most vulnerable to fire.

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