FDNY Puts Inspection Data to Work

 
 
By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2011-07-27
 
 
 

Managing public safety is a daunting task for the New York City Fire Department. Among other things, the agency is responsible for completing hundreds of thousands of building inspections annually throughout the city’s five boroughs.

In the past, the FDNY worked blind: There was no database of information. As a result, “We had no way to know whether we may have inspected one building eight times but missed another building altogether,” says Don Shacknai, first deputy fire commissioner.

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All that has changed with a business intelligence system from IBM. The Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities will allow the FDNY to track inspections and receive notification when an inspection is due. “Now, instead of simply conducting inspections on a cyclical basis, we’re able to examine risks and the urgency of an inspection,” Shacknai explains.

“This is a highly interactive system that puts valuable information at our fingertips. It fundamentally changes the way we handle inspections.”

The FDNY is currently piloting the BI system and expects to roll it out fully within the next 12 months. Eventually, the department hopes to put the system on a mobile platform.

The department also plans to share the data between firefighters and civilians, some of whom handle different types of inspections for the city, as well as with other agencies that have inspection responsibilities. These include the Department of Buildings and the Department of Environmental Protection.

“When we go into a building for a fire, we want to be able to view all the information about that building,” Shacknai says. “That helps us do the job better and improve safety.”