A member of the Seabird Island Fire Department. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

A member of the Seabird Island Fire Department. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Indigenous reporting system to track fires on reserves, increase prevention across Canada

The system will gather and analyze fire data, and close gaps in fire protection

A new reporting system will help Indigenous communities across Canada improve their fire safety measures.

The National Indigenous Fire Safety Council Project has launched a national reporting system to help gather and analyze fire data, and close gaps in fire protection on reserve.

“Due to longstanding systemic injustices, there is currently a big knowledge gap in what causes fires in Indigenous communities in Canada,” Blaine Wiggins, executive director of the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada, said in a release.

“What we do know is that Indigenous Peoples in Canada are 10 times more likely to die in a fire than the general population. This is unacceptable. By understanding why and how fires occur, we can bring direct attention to the root causes and prevent future fires from happening.”

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The National Incident Reporting System (NIRS) will collect submitted data on fires, and analyze the cause, origin and circumstances of the incident to help identify trends. With enough information, it should be able to highlight areas of concern at a local, provincial and national level, and inform future education, training and infrastructure planning.

The main goal for NIRS is to reduce fire-related injuries and death in Indigenous communities, and help ensure Indigenous people are receiving the same level of fire protection as others in Canada.

“Fire incident data is an important resource for communities. It provides insight into the challenges and success stories from other communities,” the Fire Safety Council said on its website. “By using the system, we can identify gaps in fire safety programming and then focus on those key areas.”

Anyone will be able to report fires to the NIRS using its online platform, or by calling the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council at 1-888-444-6811.

The report will ask for details such as the band number and fire department name, as well as how the fire was detected and the method of control.



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