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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), 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. You can contact him using this information:

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 https://www.nfirs.fema.gov/NFIRSWebTools/UserVendorServletHelper/userServlet/userRegistration.do at no cost to the local fire department. Fill out the User Registration form and submit it. As described in the directions, the MEFIRS State Administrator will notify you when your account is activated. Note: Macintosh users cannot download the NFIRS 5.0 software: they will need to submit information through the web at: https://www.nfirs.fema.gov/NFIRSWBI/jsp/authentication/login.jsp .

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)

Downloading and Access

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 often do I need to log into the system?

The NFIRS account becomes inactive if the account hasn't been accessed in 60 days. Contact the MEFIRS State Administrator to get the account reactivated.

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

Download time depends on the user’s 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 User’s 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 “surf” 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 (1-888-382-3827) or fema-nfirshelp@fema.dhs.gov and they can help you identify if the version of the USFA software on the PC is the most current one.

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.

How do I find the codes I need in order to fill out the incident report?

You can download the NFIRS Reference Guide to your desktop. It's a large file (over 500 pages), but it contains everything you need to know about he difference modules and the possible codes you can use for each module. Select the link to access the Reference Guide: NFIRS Reference Guide (PDF, 7 MB).

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 make sure that local fire department data is entered into the state MEFIRS server. The Office of State Fire Marshal will 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 Vendor’s 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 at https://www.nfirs.fema.gov/users/usersdocs.shtmusersdocs. The documentation provides the user with complete instructions on how to use the NFIRS 5.0 reporting software, as well as a Complete Reference Guide that contains the codes to use during data entry.