preventing fires with big data

incentro has helped the amsterdam-amstelland fire brigade's work safer and more effective

The Amsterdam-Amstelland Fire Brigade is called out some 10,000 times a year. The 1100-strong brigade staff are faced with a variety of incidents, ranging from residential fires to traffic accidents. A large amount of data on all these incidents is stored. Until recently, however, this information was not put to optimal use.

“The development of the fire risk profile has helped make the Amsterdam-Amstelland fire brigade’s work safer and more effective.” – Bart-Jan Knegt, Incentro consultant & surfer

a new way of making decisions

“The brigade had been looking for a way to identify and analyse fire risk profiles for some time,” explains Bart-Jan Knegt, consultant at Incentro. “This would allow for decision-making on the basis of facts, rather than the experience of senior firemen, as is currently the case.” Incentro sought to develop a solution that could extract fire risk profiles from incident data. “The new solution should help the Fire Brigade estimate risks within the Amsterdam-Amstelland safety region more effectively, and determine the required performance levels and costs.”

data architectuur

Incentro’s solution had to meet a number of requirements. Its design should allow for the solution to be used by other fire brigades, and facilitate expansion with supplementary data sources. “We started by identifying a suitable data architecture,” Van der Knegt explains. After some comparisons Pentaho, Alfresco and Qlikview proved to offer the perfect basis for a suitable solution.

creating a fire risk profile

“Next, we gathered all the information used in compiling fire risk profiles. This includes information on buildings, neighbourhoods and industrial estates. All this data was then linked to the incident history records and stored in a Pentaho data vault,” Van der Knegt explains. “This allows us to allocate each building a number reflecting the relevant fire risk. The profile also describes the likelihood of an incident and its expected effects. A newly-built detached house will thus be allocated a different number than an old apartment in a densely-populated neighbourhood.”

visualising data

The information used to create the fire risk profile is partly gathered by the fire brigade itself, over the course of house visits. Jan Pieter van Santen, manager at Incentro explains the procedure. “Completed questionnaires, documents and photos are sent to the Alfresco document management system from an Ipad. The data is then visualised using the Qlikview tool.”

“The app allows the Amsterdam-Amstelland fire brigade to access all available data via an Ipad. As a result, they can anticipate and respond to incidents more effectively and are better prepared every time they go out on a call.” – Jan Pieter van Santen, Incentro manager & film enthusiast

better prepared

Relevant information can be viewed via Qlikview every time the fire brigade is called out. As a result, the fire fighters are better prepared for every new situation,” Van Santen explains. “The app can also be used for prevention purposes. For example, you can select a specific area with a high risk of fires, which members of the brigade can then visit to offer targeted fire prevention advice.”

“The insights we’ve gained offer a wealth of options in terms of process control.” We’re still getting used to its incredible potential.” – Barry van ’t Padje, Amsterdam-Amstelland fire brigade Risk Profile project leader & road racing cyclist

anticipating incidents

The tailor-made solution is applied to create fire risk profiles that offer a clear visual representation of data on the safety area and previous incidents. As a result, the fire brigade is far better equipped to effectively anticipate and respond to incidents. “The insights we’ve gained through this new solution offer a wealth of options in terms of process control,” explains Barry van ’t Padje, Amsterdam-Amstelland fire brigade’s Risk Profile project leader. We’re still getting used to its incredible potential.”

building on new insights

As Van der Knegt emphasises, this is merely the beginning. “We’re currently working to build on the new insights we’ve gained. Amongst other strategies, we’re supplementing the database with information gathered from catering licences and building permits. The aim is to create a comprehensive fire risk profile, which will help us make the Amsterdam-Amstelland Fire Brigade’s work even more effective and safe in the long run.”