The new National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) exposure tracking module is now available as an app from the Google Play store and the Apple App store. With the mobile app, any fire fighter, paramedic or officer can access and use the exposure tracker which serves as a personal database providing a detailed history of work and exposures in a private, encrypted and secure online environment.
John H. Oates, former fire chief of the East Hartford Fire Department in Connecticut, has been named the new CEO of the International Public Safety Data Institute by the organization’s board of directors. Oates replaces Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, who was appointed to lead the U.S. Fire Administration by President Joe Biden in October.
“Educating fire departments around the country on how to leverage technology and data to provide lifesaving insights is my mission,” said Oates. “We can’t keep using 1981 procedures, techniques and data to solve 2021 problems. The fire service needs to improve how it views and applies information in its decision making, and IPSDI has two products in NFORS and FireCARES that are uniquely positioned to help rethink the future of safety in communities across America.”
According to Oates, the FireCARES tool, using data collected by the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS), is the most comprehensive way for fire departments, community leaders and government officials to develop a community safe grade score and understand ways to help improve how they respond to emergencies.
“Working with a broad team of experts, I plan to coach local public safety agencies on ways to gather, organize and translate data into action, improving how they evaluate risks, deploy resources and respond to emergencies, ultimately to keep their communities safe,” said Oates.
At the same time, Oates notes the importance of keeping firefighters safe as well. “It is well known that more firefighters are dying every year from exposures to toxic chemicals than in their duties of handling daily emergencies,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it is a simple car crash, a building fire or a pandemic or active shooter, the work is more challenging than ever before, and its imperative that firefighters use the exposure tracker app to create their personal, safe and protected career diary. This diary can be critical to saving lives in the future.”
“Chief Oates is an exceptional leader with a proven track record of execution in high-stress and high-performing public safety arenas,” said IPSDI Interim CEO and Board Secretary William Jenaway. “He is an effective communicator, talented educator and skilled fire ground commander. Chief Oates is a savvy manager who clearly understands the need for data and the intelligence it imparts to the fire service to make a community safer.”
In his 13-year tenure heading the East Hartford department, Oates amplified focus on health, wellness and safety of firefighters, understanding that is the key to keeping a community safe. He enlarged paramedic training, implemented electronic patient care reporting, enhanced revenue recovery by more than 55% from emergency medical service billing, wrote successful Assistance to Firefighter Grant applications, upgraded planning and operations for mass gathering events, and improved fireground operational effectiveness and safety.
He served as the president of the Connecticut Career Fire Chiefs’ Association and held various positions with national fire organizations, including the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), the First Responder Center for Excellence, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) committees (including NFPA 3000™), and as an implementation specialist with Dr. Sara Jahnke and the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research.
Oates is a longtime contributor to the NFFF’s Everyone Goes Home® program. He serves as a member of the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee created by the First Responder Center for Excellence, an NFFF-affiliated organization. He also is a member of the NFPA 3000 Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response Technical Committee and the Technical Committee for Safety at Motorsports Venues (NFPA 610), where he served as chairman from 2005 until 2016.
He has a B.S. from Franklin Pierce University, an M.S. from Oklahoma State University, is a graduate of the U.S. Fire Administration’s Executive Fire Officer Program and holds numerous professional certifications.
The IPSDI mission is to enhance public safety resource deployment, operations, and firefighter health and safety by using data analytics to provide actionable lifesaving insights. The IPSDI team includes fire service leaders, researchers, developers and data scientists. Available IPSDI data tools include FireCARES, NFORS Analytics and the NFORS Exposure Tracker. The IPSDI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit data science and research organization formed by a collaboration of fire service, research, policy and academic organizations. More information can be found at www.i-psdi.org.