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MEFIRS Frequently Asked Questions

Does the State of Maine participate in the National Fire Incident Reporting System?

The State of Maine Office of State Fire Marshal, through the use of the MEFIRS (Maine Fire Incident Reporting System) actively participates in NFIRS.

Can my fire department use the USFA NFIRS 5.0 software to report to the State of Maine Office of State Fire Marshal and the USFA National Fire Incident Reporting System?

The State of Maine Office of State Fire Marshal and MEFIRS supports the use of the U.S. Fire Administration NFIRS 5.0 software at the local department level.

Who is the State NFIRS Program Manager?

The State of Maine NFIRS Program Manager is Joseph E. Thomas, State Fire Marshal. Contact can be made through the following:

Joseph E. Thomas
State Fire Marshal
MEFIRS State Administrator
52 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0052
207-626-3871
Joseph.E.Thomas@maine.gov

How can I register for the USFA NFIRS 5.0 software?

Registration is offered through the USFA NFIRS 5.0 web site at www.nfirs.fema.gov at no cost to the local fire department. As MEFIRS actively participates in conjunction with NFIRS, we encourage local departments to take advantage of this no cost incident reporting capability.

Can I use vendor software to send Fire Department and incident data to the State of Maine and the National Database?

The State of Maine MEIFRS and USFA National Database will recognize incident file data from vendor software if the vendor has registered their software in accordance with U.S. Fire Administration specifications. The USFA maintains a list of vendors with Active Status. Active Status vendors are listed on the NFIRS 5.0 website under "Active Vendors" at www.nfirs.fema.gov or you may contact the MEFIRS State Administrator at the Office of State Fire Marshal.

System Requirements

What are the System Requirements in order to use NFIRS 5.0?

Minimum System Requirements:

  • CPU: 200 MHZ, Pentium Class
  • Memory: 64 MB of RAM
  • Hard Drive: 20 MB available disk space
  • Monitor: 800 x 600 Resolution

What is Microsoft Access 97 (or Access 2000, 2002, FoxPro 6.0, MS SQL Server 7.0 or 2000)?

These are database programs. The NFIRS 5.0 application can use one of these programs as the database engine to manage and store the data entered in the Off-Line mode. If the user wishes to work in the Off-Line mode, one of the programs must be installed on the PC. Access 97 and Access 2000 are used most often as the Off-Line database engine.

The database program must be installed prior to installing the NFIRS 5.0 application. The Data Entry Validation Tool Guide and the Readme.txt provide complete details.

I do not have Access 97, Access 2000, Access 2002, FoxPro 6.0, MS SQL Server 7.0, or MS SQL Server 2000 on my computer.

During the installation of the NFIRS 5.0 software, the user must specify Custom Install. Refer to slides 24 and 25 of Chapter 1 in the NFIRS Tutorial at: www.nfirs.fema.gov/tutorial.htm

Can I install NFIRS 5.2.3 on a PC that has Windows ME?

At the present time, Windows ME is not supported for use with NFIRS 5.0 (Version 5.2.3)

Registration, Download, and PC Configuration

How do I register to be able to use the NFIRS 5.0 reporting software application?

If a local fire department wishes to register to become an active user of the NFIRS 5.0 reporting software, they should go the U.S. Fire Administration website www.nfirs.fema.gov and go to the User Section on the left side of the webpage. Under the User Section select Home Page. After selection Home Page under the User Section, you will be taken to the User Home Page. As a new registrant, you should to the last sentence that states: To Register for NFIRS 5.0 Software, proceed to User Registration. By clicking on the User Registration hyperlink, you will be taken to the NFIRS 5.0 User Registration Form. Fill out the User Registration form and submit. As described in the associated directions, the MEFIRS State Administrator will notify you of activation for your account.

What do I do if I forget my password?

Should you forget your password, you must contact the MEFIRS State Administrator at the Office of State Fire Marshal at 207-626-3871 or Joseph.E.Thomas@maine.gov

How often do I have to change my password?

The NFIRS 5.0 user will be prompted to change their password every 90 days.

Passwords can be changed prior to the 90 days. Select "Change Password" under the Advanced tab in the Data Entry Tool.

How long does it take to download the NFIRS 5.0 software?

Download time depends on the userís connection to the Internet and the amount of traffic on the Internet.

Users have the option of downloading the NFIRS 5.0 software from one large file or download four smaller files. Downloading the four smaller files may enhance a successful download and avoid interruption of their Internet connection.

I have problems when trying to download the NFIRS 5.0 from the USFA website.

The NFIRS 5.0 executable file is large, and users on regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may have difficulty downloading it.

It is also available in four smaller parts on the Download Software page, and there is a specific method of downloading and saving it. Follow the directions on the page or in the Data Entry Tool Userís Guide. Persons downloading the four smaller parts need to create a folder on the C Drive, save each of the four folders to it, then when all downloads are complete, locate the file and double click on the file named: NFIRSV50Imaged.exe. The user will be prompted to enter the full path to the folder where the files are for the setup to begin. This takes a little more effort, but the file downloads are smaller.

Another suggestion is to have the user ďsurfĒ to keep the connection open while the download is going on. The user can click on sidebar links and visit other NFIRS 5.0 sections about every 10 minutes or less. This may help from the system timing out the user while the download is taking place. If the user gets dropped in a shorter amount of time than that, they may want to adjust settings or contact their Internet Service Provider for other options.

How do I know if I am using the most current version of the USFA NFIRS 5.0 software?

Contact the NFIRS Support Center who can assist in identifying if the version of the USFA software on the PC is the most current.

The 5.0 in NFIRS 5.0 is a system number, which is followed by the Software Version number, for example: Version 5.0, Version 5.4.2. The Program File folder in the root directory will reflect the software version number, for example: NFIRSv542.

What is the difference between Off-Line and On-Line?

Off-Line means the user is entering their incidents data into a Microsoft Access database.

On-Line means the user enters the incident data directly into the National database while connected to the Internet.

What do the yellow fields in the incident reports represent?

Yellow fields are defined as National USFA required fields. These fields must be completed in order for the incident to pass validation.

Is the Data Entry/Validation Tool case sensitive?

The Data Entry/Validation Tool is not case sensitive.

As a local department, do I send data through the state or should it be sent directly to the National server?

Local Fire Departments must submit their data, as required by USFA reporting guidelines, to the State of Maine Office of State Fire Marshal. This is necessary in order to assure that local fire department data is entered into the state MEFIRS server. The Office of State Fire Marshal will then import submitted data to the USFA national database.

Is there a special requirement for the creation of my password?

Passwords must be 8 characters in length, with at least 1 numeric character.

About Third Party Software Vendors

How can I tell if a Vendorís software is certified with the USFA?

The United States Fire Administration no longer certifies vendor software. Vendors develop their product according to the specifications to be compatible with the national NFIRS 5.0 standard. Vendors notify the USFA when their product development has been completed. The USFA then places the vendor on the Active Vendors List.

NFIRS 5.0 Design & User Documentation

The NFIRS 5.0 Documentation is available for download from the NFIRS website. Go to NFIRS Userís Homepage Page, login and click on the link for Download Documentation. The documentation provides the user complete instructions on how to use the NFIRS 5.0 reporting software.