Oregon Fire Service Office Administrators

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Update on OSFM Non-fire & Resource Directory

Tue, Jul 29, 2008

Fire Marshals,

As I related last Tuesday, my week started with learning that our 2007 non-fire incident data was seriously flawed. Friday, I learned the problems were more extensive. The 2006 non-fire incident data is also wrong, and we did not capture updates you made to the Oregon Fire Service Resource Directory.

I'm embarrassed, to say the least. Now you all know I didn't even look at last year's supplemental data, because any half-awake reader can see there is something seriously wrong with our report of your call numbers.

There are two causes for the errors:

1) No one proof-read and questioned the reports' information before we published them.

2) The programming in the decade old, in-house software used to compile your non-fire incident reports has major flaws.

I am so sorry this has happened.

Scott Showers, manager; Bryan Dornan, data services; and Stephan Wright, programmer, have already identified and fixed most of the software problems. During this next week, they'll complete their work, and we will republish your 2007 and 2006 incident data.

Program managers and staff are reviewing the resource directory information to validate the content and correct our erroneous or omitted information.

Lessons Learned:

1) If only one employee has critical operational knowledge, you're already in trouble and don't know it.

2) If a supervisor doesn't realize only one employee has critical operational knowledge, it's already hit the fan and you don't know it. You're going to be sending out letters like this.

3) If a report goes out with your name on it, you darn well better read it.

4) The fire service is incredibly polite. I feel like I've been wearing the Emperor's new clothes and no one would tell me.

5) Please feel free to share others . . . ?

For those of you who responded to Amy Anderson-Rice's request for information to give me at our meeting last Friday, she represented you fairly, factually and assertively. She demonstrated the command presence of an outstanding chief officer. Few people in any organization anywhere can chew someone out so nicely.

Some of you have asked what's happening with your online incident response reporting system. The ludicrously long State information technology procurement process has delayed the new real-time reporting system by two years. (Yes, two years.)

Rather than having the new system (ORRS) complete and in place for the 2008 reporting year, we just finished evaluating vendors' proposals. We're negotiating with a company that also has the contract for Health Division's EMS reporting system (handy, huh?).

We will run a tandem system beginning at some point next year and completely move off the OAIRS software for the 2010 reporting year. Departments that submit paper reports may continue to do so.

Thank you all for your understanding, continued counsel and (for the most part) astonishing patience. If you aren't completely satisfied with our response to this problem, or if you don't get answers and accurate data in what you consider a reasonable time, please let me, Randy or Scott Showers know. Please. We want to provide premier public safety services, and we need your continued partnership to do so.


Nancy Orr, State Fire Marshal
Office of State Fire Marshal
Department of State Police
4760 Portland Rd. NE
Salem, OR 97305
503-373-1540 x. 209

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