What does an NFIRS file contain?

Anatomy of an NFIRS TXT File

An NFIRS file is a specialized text file that is formatted per the NFIRS standard. All files contain the same two header lines, and the incident data is carat (^) delimited. The data below is a rough, color-coded outline of how to “read” some of the columns in an exported NFIRS file.

NFIRS TXT file Example

31D44^WA^20140414^124^0^1000^1^AMB^5.0^ 31D44^WA^20140414^124^0^1005^1^321^N^N^20140414114637^2014041411550… 31D44^WA^20140414^124^0^1010^1^^1^30812^^360^AVE^NE^^Bellingham^WA^98223^^


These first two lines are present at the beginning of every NFIRS TXT file.
Five digit fire department identification.
Where department resides.
Incident Date
In YYYYMMDD format.
Incident Number
In the example, this all three lines are for a single incident, #124.
Line Identifier
Each number represents the type of data contained in that line. For example, line 1010 contains location information, 1800 indicated apparatus information, etc. These line types are described in full detail in the NFIRS technical standard which can be downloaded from FEMA.
Changed Record
These first two lines are present at the beginning of every NFIRS TXT file For records that have been previously exported to the state, then modified and resubmitted, the seventh place holder contains a one (1). This marks the incident as changed. For incidents submitted for the first time, which is the majority of the time, the seventh place holder is blank, as shown below:


The NFIRS file format is very specific and any unexpected changes will cause the file to be invalid. If changes need to be made to this file use a text editor (such as Notepad ++) instead of word processing software. Word processing software will alter the layout of the NFIRS file and make it unreadable to NFIRS.
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